Help Our Neighbors (HON) and The Gathering Place are co-sponsoring a special workshop, "Managing the Holidays," to help people get through their holidays while grieving the loss of a loved one. Chatfield United Methodist Church's (CUMC) parish nurse, Beverly Simpson, explained that the upcoming workshop offers understanding for those who may not be feeling so jolly while the rest of the world is caught up in mistletoe and holly.

"There are several ways to manage grief while still celebrating the season," she said. "During this program, Seasons Hospice of Rochester will offer tips to manage the holidays while grieving a loss - Marianne Maruca, a grief education support specialist at Seasons Hospice, will present the program."

Even though one's family may be passing gifts to one another and enjoying eggnog, someone who has experienced loss - be it within that same year or that same decade - may be suffering feelings that are seemingly not in accord with the season.

"According to grief management experts, emotions such as loneliness, anger and grief are normal and not at all uncommon. These emotions can easily overtake the spirit of thanksgiving and cheer that are the usual hallmarks of the holiday season," Simpson added. "Hopefully, by attending this workshop, people who are newly alone will learn that their feelings are normal...and that a joyful season is possible while grieving their loss."

"Managing the Holidays" will, in addition to offering attendees information, allow time for discussion, Simpson noted. "There will be time for sharing and discussion as the participants wish, and people will find that they are not alone in the emotions they are feeling," she added. "Essentially, we would like people to know that whether this is their first, second, sixth or even 10th holiday without a loved one, there are ways to manage grief while celebrating the season."

Simpson stated that HON, a network of volunteers assembled to assist senior citizens in remaining in their homes, and The Gathering Place, a safe, open meeting place for senior citizens, are working together to build resources for older adults who would like to learn how to handle the changes that come with losing a loved one.

"Help Our Neighbors and Chatfield United Methodist Church's Gathering Place have been collaborating to provide education which will support the health of seniors and their loved ones in the community of Chatfield," Simpson said. "HON and The Gathering Place hope that this program will serve as an introduction to a continuing series of grief support meetings in the new year."

"Managing the Holidays" is set for Tuesday, Nov. 19, from 1 to 3 p.m. Coffee and snacks will be served. Participants need not bring anything to the workshop.

Simpson requested that participants pre-register by Tuesday, Nov. 12, by calling Sue Awes at (507) 251-0520 in order for HON and the Gathering Place to provide enough space and materials for attendees.