Holiday grief: One mother says it doesn't get any easier

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But for those who just lost a loved one, this can be one of the toughest times.
“I’ve heard that phrase, ‘Give it time. It gets easier.’ That is not true. In time, it gets different,” said Kim Knox.
Her son Jared was 18 when he died. She says he was driving intoxicated and got in a wreck. That was ten years ago now.
“The holidays are tough. We can’t will them to stop. I tried. You know, I was just forbidding Christmas. And I never did get that pulled off. You just get through it,” she said.
We spoke with a therapist from the Lost and Found Grief Center, who gave us three ways to deal with grief during the holidays.
“Holidays are so centered around family times so it magnifies the absence of the person who’s missing,” said Doctor Karen Scott is one of the founders of the Lost and Found Grief Center.
First, she says families should talk openly about the person who is missing from the celebration.
“They need to go ahead and mention the name of the person who’s missing,” said Scott, “Don’t avoid talking about them. And an easy way to do that, ‘Oh, if so and so were here, he would love this.’ Or, ‘Remember how he always enjoyed,’ So they’re talking about that person in a natural way.”
Second, she says don’t over do it.
“Simple and quiet is sometimes a lot better. We encourage people not to isolate. They still need to be with others. But maybe not as many gatherings as they used to do,” she said.
Doctor Scott also suggests starting a new tradition in memory of the loved one who’s not there.
“Whether it’s to light a candle in their memory, to have a place setting at the table with a flower on it. There are a number of new traditions families can start to honor to memory, and try to focus on remembering the good things about that person who’s no longer there,” she said.
If you know someone who’s grieving the loss of a loved one, Scott says you might want to offer them a hand this holiday season.
“It’s important for family members to be really patient with people who are grieving. Especially older people who are grieving the death of the spouse. They need help. They need to be included in some social things. They don’t need to be criticized.”
Knox says she made new traditions, like eating Mexican food on Thanksgiving.
“Some of the kids had made me a memory tree of Jared. And every year, I set it out. And they bought me little tiny ornaments that we hang on that,” Knox said.
Knox says if you don’t have to be happy during the holidays. But she says you can’t give up.
“I would just ask one thing of them. Just please get up. Please get out of bed. And put one foot in front of the other,” she said.
Know moves forward by taking action. She’s the coordinator of the Ozarks Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
“I always call myself lucky, because I did find my reason to get out of bed,” she explained.
If you’re going to be alone this holiday season, you can attend a free Christmas dinner at First and Calvary Presbyterian Church. The church located at 820 Cherry Street in Springfield. You can call 417-885-9620 for reservations. There is no charge for the dinner.