The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most difficult time for people grieving a lost loved one. Rockford has programs locally to help people cope.
These support groups give us a different perspective on the holiday season.
The brightest time of the year can be shadowed by distant memories, especially memories of a lost love.
Kurt Geiger is someone who deals with loss everyday with the loss of his wife Laura.
Geiger explains, "She had multiple sclerosis. She died 2009 November 15th right before Thanksgiving."
6 years has past and Geiger has learned to cope with his loss.
"She loved thanksgiving and loved entertaining," Geiger says, "that made it very difficult."
Thanksgiving is the holiday to gather around the dinner table and share a meal with your family. When your family isn't complete anymore the thought of the holiday can become stressful.
Heartland Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, Kate Nash, states, "A lot of it is anticipating not having that person there and that is what you have known for how ever many years and it is just feels lonely."
Heartland Hospice provides support groups all year long on Tuesday nights from 6:00 p.m. till 7:45 p.m. and Friday afternoons 1:30 p.m. till 3:15 p.m. Around the holiday season they plan extra events. They have a Holiday Ornament Workshop coming up December 6.
Geiger says, "Some of the best holidays I've had are with friends from grief group."
Nash adds, "This group to them is where they feel safe, no one judges them and they are able to be themselves and not worry about saying the wrong thing in front of someone."
These support groups also have helpful tips for celebrating during the grieving process.
"My co-worker says she has a candle that she lights in honor of her dad." Nash explains, "She sets a dinner place for her dad and you can put a picture on the table and just go around and discuss memories you feel you want to talk about."
Geiger adds, "My advice is to bring your own car so you can leave when you want. Just try it if it doesn't work then you can go home."
Everyone is different but after several years in the group Kurt Geiger says he can tell when someone is on the path to healing.
Geiger states, "It's the people that cry who I know they are going to be okay."
Friday, November 27, is the next support group. For more information on Heartland Hospice support groups and holiday workshops you can click here.