For anyone who has had a death in the family, whether this year or in the recent past, the Christmas season can be a time where joy is overshadowed by pain.
One Upstate funeral home is helping people process that grief during the holidays by offering a new series on coping with grief.
The sessions are free and open to the public. The next one is called “Healing Through The Holidays” and it’s Thursday December 7 at the J.W. Woodward Funeral Home Chapel in Spartanburg.
Anyone can benefit from both the professional guidance and meeting others who are also suffering from loss.
Family therapist Sabrina Richardson says sometimes it’s the people who avoid that journey that have the most difficulty losing the tight grip of grief.
‘I encourage individuals to experience, to feel these hard emotions. It’s almost as if these emotions want to be acknowledged, recognized. And then they can pass on,” said Richardson.
And no time of year can clash more with the grieving process than the holidays.
Stinson Ferguson knows that personally, from the loss of her father and step father. So this year, her family’s funeral home, J.W. Woodward, is offer the continuing care series on grief.
The first session was over Thanksgiving, and even she was surprised at how much people opened up.
“We had a lot of sharing. And I found some personal benefit in it, as I heard some people share some experiences of their own that were similar to experiences and emotions that I’ve felt, but that I’ve never had anyone else share with me,” said Ferguson.
All five sessions, including Thursday’s are lead by a licensed professional like Richardson.
One aspect of Thursday’s session will be a coping assessment quiz of sorts, that will help people gauge whether they’re dealing with grief in a healthy way.
“We believe that if you would like to figure out where it’s best to be, you have to first determine where you are,” said Ferguson.
“We laugh as much as we share things that are not funny. And you meet people that you may never think you would have something in common with, but by the end of the session, you find that we all share a common bond,” she said.
The last three sessions will be in February, May and August.
HOW TO REGISTER: Visit www.jwwfh.eventbrite.com or dial 864-582-6751, or In-person 594 Howard St. (between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM, Monday – Friday)
*free transportation available upon request*