Yolo Hospice will offer special bereavement workshops to the local community. The free meetings are designed to help people cope with loss this holiday season.
Workshops are being offered beginning Nov. 16 to provide support during what can be an emotionally sensitive time of year. Participants will receive information about dealing with the holidays and have the opportunity to share personal experiences.
“It is important to recognize that if you have experienced loss in the past, it is likely that emotions will get triggered during the holiday season,” said Denise M. Rose, Yolo Hospice bereavement counselor. “Grief is very lonely, but having the awareness that others are going through it can be very comforting.”
This is the first year in which group grief counseling is being offered specifically for the holiday season.
“It was Denise’s brainchild actually,” said Joseph Lumello, bereavement services manager at Yolo Hospice, “but we all immediately wanted to make it a team effort.
“Grief during the holidays is especially difficult because in many instances it is a family affair. If a family experiences a death, that is likely to impact how the holidays are celebrated and it won’t be the same. That is something we help people deal with.”
Yolo Hospice has divided the four workshops into specific areas. “Dealing with Holiday details” is on Nov. 16, “Confronting Holiday Overload” is on Nov. 30, “Grappling With Holiday Needs vs. Holiday Desires” is on Dec. 14 and “Bringing Light into Darkness After the Holidays” is on Jan. 11.
All workshops require advance registration due to space availability and will be offered in two sessions from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the scheduled day of the workshop.
“We’re a nonprofit organization. We’re doing this because we have a responsibility to the community,” Rose said. “Acknowledge that hesitation to coming to a group session is normal, but it can bring the individual so much relief.”
The holiday workshops are open to all ages and are designed to be a standalone bereavement service or a gateway to other counseling services offered by Yolo Hospice.
“College students are absolutely welcome,” said Mary Odbert, public relations manager of Yolo Hospice. “Dealing with grief during the holidays as a full time student can be especially tough. We are here to help everyone.”
Participants have the opportunity to attend all four upcoming workshops. Bereavement counselors will try to pinpoint the needs of each person within the group and offer individualized advice on how to balance grief and loss during the holidays.
“I try to help the individual become empowered,” Lumello said when asked about his approach to counseling. “The holiday season brings out the best and worst in the family. You have a right to choose how you want to go through the holidays.”
Rose emphasized adapting past traditions.
“We want people to understand they may feel fatigued [and] tired, not like holidays past. I encourage people to modify what they may normally take on during the holidays,” Rose said. “In light of loss everything changes and they need to select what they can handle.”
Yolo Hospice is located at 1909 Galileo Court, in South Davis.
CARLY HAASE can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.