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Sympathy Advice

Holiday Memorial—Honor Lost Loved Ones


For many people, certain times of the year are most likely to bring lost loved ones to mind. Perhaps it is Mother's Day, a birthday or the holiday season that's difficult or you. Either way, holidays can be rough for those grieving a loved one who has recently passed or, for some, the pain of losing someone who has been gone for a long time can be equally troubling.

According to David Kessler, a grief and loss specialist and prolific author on the subjects of death and grieving, there is no correct way or amount of time to grieve. "Every individual's experience is unique. It is important to memorialize those we have loved and lost and to know that there are no deadlines for mourning the loss of a friend or loved one," he explained.

Kessler offers the following suggestions to help with the grieving process:

  • Know that sadness is allowed. Be gentle with yourself and protect yourself. Don't do anything that does not serve your soul and your loss.
  • Review your traditions. Know that it's okay to make changes and do things differently than you might have done in the past. Grief provides the opportunity to release traditions that may have lost their meaning when a loved one passed away. Take some time to make the holidays personal again.
  • Externalize your grief. Pain and sadness can be fully realized only when you express your feelings. At Web sites such as, you can create a tribute to a loved one lost and share your favorite photos, videos, memories and other artifacts of their treasured life. Once created, the tribute will be something you can come back to on particularly difficult days to remember, to share your thoughts and to read the memories others have left.
  • Have a "Plan A" and a "Plan B." Give yourself a chance to go out and have fun. Have a Plan B set up in case you are feeling sad and want to leave. You will be more likely to stay out with friends, just knowing you have a fallback plan. To share your memories of a loved one lost or to find grieving support, visit

Editor's Note: For additional photos, please contact Colleen DeVine at or 215.867.8600 ext. 269.