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Grief During the Holidays

With holidays come emotions. Happiness most of all; annoyance (perhaps) when your mother-in-law comments on your casserole; or maybe shock when she doesn't. Holidays can also trigger sadness, anger, guilt, and other emotions tied to grief. Your dog isn't tearing up the presents like he did last year; your cat isn't climbing up the tree. Your laugh may be followed by a tear at the memories of the years before.

Here are some things to help with grief during the holidays:

  1. Traditions - Honor old ones or create new ones. I always place my childhood cat's paw print under the tree in a small box with a ribbon. I feel connected to him every year.

  2. Share Stories - While stories may spark some pain, sharing silly stories of your pets, especially if they happened around the holidays, can bring laughs and warm memories.

  3. Donations - Every year I try to find unique ways to give back. This year, I am bringing blankets to the animal shelters to keep the animals warm. Gifts are a holiday tradition after all. You could also donate tennis balls to your local animal shelter in your pet's name. (A reminder: you can also donate your time. Many shelters need walkers)

  4. Get Support - Holidays bring loved ones into town. While stress may be added, support is also within arms reach.

Happy Holidays to you all! Especially those who need a little extra love this year.

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