The Executive Director of The Compassionate Friends, Alan Pedersen, joins Drs. Gloria and Heidi Horsley during a special holiday edition of The Open to Hope show. He offers advice for bereavement throughout the holidays, which is often the toughest time of year no matter how long ago the loss was. A video segment from the Midpensula Chapter of The Compassionate Friends is featured, and the National Candle Lighting event is highlighted.
Registered dietician and cookbook author Katie Morford also joins the program to offer tips and recipes for easy and healthy holiday cooking. She penned The Best Lunch Box Ever as a tool to help the bereaved keep themselves healthy even during the grieving process. Baking can be therapeutic, and there are many holiday meals and treats that can easily be made healthy with a few tweaks. Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into the trap of unhealthy eating, especially when you’ve recently lost someone you love.
Bringing Back Some Holiday Joy
Pedersen calls the holidays a time when you can pursue a “sacred space” and strengthen those continuing bonds with those who have passed. Candle lighting is a great way to do this, whether you join a large event or hold your own lighting at home. Continuing bonds is very possible, because losing a family member (or anyone) doesn’t mean you’ve lost that relationship. You can continue it, and many people find that tools like candles can help mobilize that relationship.
“When you think you cannot survive this loss, and you can look at someone else and say, ‘see you’ve made it six months or 5 years or 15 years’ you think, maybe I can do it, too,” says Pedersen. Surrounding yourself with a strong support network is key, and that’s exactly what The Compassionate Friends offers. Pedersen has visited over 300 chapters.