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The holiday season is often associated with traveling or returning home to celebrate with family and friends. For many, this brings up feelings of joy, excitement, and comfort. However, for individuals who have experienced the death of a loved one the transition home for the holidays can feel overwhelming, anxiety provoking, and downright depressing. In many cases, individuals who are grieving experience all of these emotions throughout the holiday season and as they travel home to celebrate.

We want you to know that it is perfectly OK to experience the highs and lows and all the in-betweens. It is in these feelings that we feel our loved one’s presence. In hearing their favorite holiday song or smelling their favorite holiday dish we may be jolted with distinct memories. Embrace these memories – or don’t – either way it is OK. We may also see and experience changes in family and friend dynamics that feel invasive or wrong. Perhaps it’s someone sitting in a loved one’s “seat” at dinner or maybe it is that the annual holiday party has been canceled due to your loved one’s inherent absence. These situations will inevitably create responses and, in turn, reactions from ourselves and our loved ones. Be kind to yourself. Take time to re -acclimate yourself to this newer and constantly evolving version of “home” before the holiday hustle and bustle begins. Maybe you spend the first few hours or days in your room to find the comfort in home again. Maybe you visit your favorite places all within a few hours of being home to remember what home feels like. Or maybe, you don’t return home this year and instead create new traditions for yourself. Whatever you choose to do and whatever feelings this holiday season may bring up allow yourself space and time.

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