Even in the best of times, the holidays can be tough. From Thanksgiving through the New Year, all we see are messages to feel “happy,” “merry,” “thankful,” and “joyous.” Yet reality often collides with warm memories of celebrations past, leaving many people sad or depressed.

This year, those feelings of anxiety and missing out started long before the season even began, as the pandemic spread loneliness and isolation along with the virus. Many people are longing  for their previous lives, when jobs, income, and health were not on the line. COVID-related restrictions are sharply altering long-held traditions, reducing or eliminating typical gatherings with family and friends.

And if you are also grieving the loss of a loved one, the pain and loneliness can be overwhelming—especially at the holiday.

Know that you are not alone.

With Capital Caring Health (CCH), there is always someone to listen, to connect to, and to help guide a path forward at whatever pace works for you. Every day of the year—even during the holidays—our grief support services are available, free of charge. And that goes for everyone, whether you were a patient or not. We view helping others as part our community-based, non-profit mission. Our grief support services are available to anyone who lives within the communities we serve in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

CCH offers a variety of options tailored to meet your special needs, ranging from support groups and workshops to short-term individual or family counseling, telephone support, and resources for families with children. Regardless of the format, our specially-trained bereavement counselors listen to your unique experiences of grief, loss, and uncertainty, and assist as you find ways to cope and build hope for the days ahead.

Continuing Pandemic Deepens Grief

Just about everything is more complicated during the pandemic, and that includes the ability to  grieve the loss of a loved one. Gone are the rituals that normally bring comfort, consolation, and closure. Add the typical holiday expectations on top of bereavement, and you may feel as if you are facing a mountain of grief alone.

CCH has many tools and techniques to help you get through mourning and the holidays. Our Adult Grief Guide During COVID-19 offers practical advice that can make a difference. Available in both English and Spanish, the guide covers how to stay connected, managing anxiety, grief and sleep, wellness and self-care, and more. Recommended books and Ten Things Grief Counselors Want You to Know are among the additional resources included.

CCH also developed a Child & Family Grief Guide In the midst of COVID-19 as children are especially likely to need help managing anxiety due to their grief and dealing with the pandemic. The guide features information including how to talk to kids about COVID-19, how to control anxiety with mindfulness apps and websites for children, plus at-home activities, and books for children dealing with the loss of a loved one.

A special COVID-19 support group is also open to anyone in the DC/VA/MD region who has lost someone—anywhere in the world—due to the coronavirus.

Whatever the source, grief affects energy, focus, patience, and sense of time. You need not have experienced the loss of a loved one to benefit from advice about taking care of yourself from the CCH Adult Guide to Grief During COVID-19. The guide is appropriate for anyone— including caregivers—dealing with grief, anxiety and depression, and feelings of loss.

Special Holiday Support Available Now

Even under “normal” circumstances, holidays are often especially difficult for those dealing with a  loss, recent or long ago. So every year CCH offers special grief support groups and workshops—in addition to regular, ongoing groups. These special sessions provide extra help through the holidays whether you’ve lost a partner, a parent, or a child. Currently, all groups are virtual, led by trained counselors with participation by peers coping with a similar experience.

Grief support groups during the holidays include:

  • Missing a Child at the Holiday Workshop (Dec. 9)
  • Walking Mindfully through the Holiday (Dec. 4, 11, 18)
  • Self-Care During the Holidays (Dec. 11)

Advance registration is required for all groups and workshops. You can also view our entire calendar of grief support groups and workshops here.

Plan for Hope

The grieving process is unique to each person. At some point, there will be a time when you’ll think about the days ahead and a different life for yourself. CCH can serve as a guide on this journey, with groups and workshops designed to help you be forward-looking in the New Year, including:

  • Soul Food Festival—Sharing and preparing favorite recipes (Jan. 9, 16)
  • New Year/New Self—Vision Collage for 2021 (Jan. 22)

Holidays or not, there’s no need to suffer alone with your grief. CCH offers diverse support programs year-round for adults, children, and teens. Caregivers and those who have lost their companion pet within the past six months will also find support group options. And, additional online resources such as our Healing From the Loss of a Loved One: Newly Bereaved Survivors Guide are available to anyone in need. The guide is also available in Spanish.

Please call 833-671-4465 during normal business hours in order to speak with Grief Support staff. You may also reach CCH 24/7 by calling 800-869-2136 or using the live chat feature on our website capitalcaring.org to schedule an appointment or learn more about grief support options.