The Holiday season is nearly upon us and for those grieving, instead of it being “the happiest season of all’, it can be “the most dreaded season of all”.
Knowing this is the case for many of the families they serve, Nat and Melanie Pantalone of Pantalone Funeral Home in Greensburg, Pennsylvania wanted to do something in their community to help grieving people better manage the holiday season.
They invited me to come and talk about Grief During the Holidays and opened the event to not just the families they serve, but to everyone in their community.
Navigating the holidays can be a stressful time for anyone. Add grief to the mix and it can seem overwhelming too.
My presentation offers insights into what someone may feel or even encounter as the holiday season draws near. I discuss the fear and trepidation some might experience as well as guilt some feel for wanting to enjoy the holiday season.
Sorting out all these emotions can be confusing and that’s why I try to help people navigate the emotions that come and go, and help them to create a game plan for all those scenarios that keep holding space inside their mind.
In addition to talking about the emotions which one may experience, I also offer tips and suggestions on how to modify family traditions or even create new ones that allow people to remember and honor their deceased loved ones.
And finally I talk about the importance of self care this holiday season.
The best part of the evening, though, is when people share their stories, experiences and things that are of concern to them. These discussions always offer insight and healing for other members in attendance. It was so wonderful to have so many people share.
One man in particular came up to me with a poem he found on social media that he wanted me to read to the group and now I want to share it with you.
It’s a poem that makes you think, not just about your lost loved ones, but how your family and friends will think of you once you disembark at your station on the train we all are traveling together.
At birth, we board the train and meet our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side.
As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life.
However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.
Others will step down over time and leave a permanent vacuum.
Some, however, will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats.
This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells.
Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down.
So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are.
It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
I wish you all a joyful journey.Unknown
I want to thank the Pantalone Family Funeral Home for offering this gift to the grieving people of the Greensburg community. It was an honor to partner with them to create this first time event that offers hope and healing to those who need it most.