The Christmas holiday is a very special time, as it is an important time to connect with family and friends, and celebrate together the events and developments that have taken place that year.

For some people though, Christmas is a lonely time as they have lost a spouse or another loved one. The Christmas holiday can also be a very painful time as memories of lost loved ones and past Christmases often surface.

It is hard work to grieve, and people can grieve for many months or even years. Grieving people often do not have the energy to reach out for help.

As Christmas nears, please reach out to family, friends, and even neighbors who are grieving.

They may just need someone to talk to, someone who will simply listen to them. They may also need an invitation to a meal or an event so they have something positive to do or look forward to during the holidays. They may need some help with everyday things like buying gifts for the grandchildren as they may be so overwhelmed by grief.

Yes, the Christmas holiday is a very special time! Please enjoy the gift of having made a difference to a grieving person.

Written by Donna Wilson, RN, PhD, a Professor of Nursing at the University of Alberta

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