Thursday, December 15, 2011

SO Excited About This!

Have you had someone close to you die? Were you responsible for handling "the arrangements"? If so, you have my sympathies, truly. It can be a confusing, complicated, exhausting and emotionally torturous process. There are so many different aspects to be addressed, most of which are time-sensitive. You're suddenly charged with dealing with unfamiliar territory- funeral details, obituary, etc., all while grieving.

It's HARD.

Karen Zinn watched as friends went through this, and wondered why there wasn't one website that helped families navigate the after-death ordeal. That's when she began to build what I feel is the best single site to help anyone survive a death. Heart2Soul.

When she asked me to be their grief support expert, I immediately accepted. Other contributors include Letitia Baldridge and Peggy Post!

I think you'll find a wealth of information and support at Heart2Soul, as well as a place to create an online memorial.

Do you love it? Are we missing something? Did you already know about it? Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Before this book came out, I wasn't comfortable discussing my mother's death with very many people. I remember calling my sister after my publisher's publicist brought up the subject of promoting the book. Unlike me, my sister has long been open about it, even doing volunteer work in Mom's memory. I asked her how she did it. She told me to just get started, and it would get easier in time. She was right.

The first interview I did was with Maureen Hunter, in Australia. Maureen has built a remarkable grief resource site since the death of her beloved son, Stuart. Somehow, the distance, (and her musical accent), put me at ease. Soon we were chatting like old friends. Having survived that, I felt the concept of speaking about my private nightmare was possible!

I want to thank all the talented hosts for having me on their shows. They all told their own grief stories as well. Thanks for letting your listeners in, and for sharing my message of healing and hope.

Conversations With Charlie Dyer Scroll down to 8/2/11

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Watch This Space

One of the best parts about writing a book is the people I get to meet. During a recent event, there were two women in the audience who stood out. During the Q&A portion of the presentation, they asked some very insightful questions, and I was glad they stuck around afterward. It wasn't until they asked me to be a guest that I discovered they hosted their own radio show! They are the kind of people who make you feel instantly comfortable, as if you've known each other for years. I'm excited to "introduce" you to Connie and Sheila, as well as a few other show hosts, so stay tuned!

I've done several interviews for HEALING lately, and will post links to four of them right here tomorrow.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

.....And Security Was NOT Called

Today was Chris Bohjalian's session. He was accessible, brilliant and hilarious. He seemed genuinely grateful for his success, thanking the audience for reading his books. He actually thanked us for reading in general, citing a chilling study showing a decline in reading in this country. He then got a laugh for giving the exception- YA books about vampires.

He took questions at the end. I asked the first one, winning a t-shirt. That's right, I won a t-shirt. This is probably what I will wear with my author badge from this day forward.

Thanks, Chris. You were pressed for time, yet were gracious enough to stay for a signing. Hope to see you next year!

Friday, October 14, 2011

So........there's something I should tell you about the Southern Festival of Books. It starts today, and while I'm very excited about participating, (Noon in Senate Chambers, signing to follow in the Colonnade), there's another reason for my excitement. An author from Vermont will be there. I need to meet him.

A little background. I am a full-fledged, card carrying Fitzgeraldophile. Not just F. Scott, but Zelda too. Very much Zelda too. Well, despite my strong preference for non-fiction, I found myself in an airport store buying a Chris Bohjalian novel. Why? Because he interweaves elements of The Great Gatsby in it. I know. I got chills too.

So, cut to this year, reading about the authors who will be here and I see Chris Bohjalian's name. I am both thrilled and terrified at the prospect of meeting him. Here are my top hopes, in no particular order-

*Please let me recognize him, so as not to ask him if anyone has seen the great and powerful Bohjalian by mistake.

*Please, if given the opportunity to meet him, allow me to form words in English that make sense. Not fainting would be good too.

*Please, if after meeting him I should see him again across the plaza, keep me from yelling, "Hey, Chris!! It's me, your good friend, Alicia!" In other words, please don't let me scare the man.

I'll let you know how it goes. The panel, the signing, and any Bohjalian incidents. Unless of course, there's some sort of court order preventing me form discussing him anymore.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Potpourri For $500, Alex

Too busy to form sentences. Will hit highlights. So much happening! Excited. Must share. In no particular order:

1. There is a new website I have to tell you about. This will save so many people from much of the frustration and confusion that follows a death. It will launch in November. It's the ONE place to go, covering everything from how to plan a funeral to travel information for out-of-town relatives, to grief camps for kids, and so much more.

This is an idea whose time has come. Overdue, really. They'll even have space to pay tribute to the person who has died, sharing stories and pictures. I am thrilled to tell you I will be serving as their go-to gal for grief support. They even gave me a title. Wanna hear it? Grief Support Expert. Yep, it's official. I'm an expert.

2. Sick of that picture on the top of this page? Yeah, me too. New one happening tomorrow. Hoping for a good hair day. Stay tuned.

3. Southern Festival of Books info-

Friday Oct 14, 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Nashville, TN
Senate Chambers (Senate Chambers. I mean, really. How cool is that?)
All Shall Be Well--Helping Ourselves-And Others--Grieve
Sherry Hoppe and Alicia King

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Southern Festival of Books. Again!

Last year I was thrilled to be signing advance copies at Turner Publishing's booth at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. This year I have been invited to be a panelist, followed by a book signing! It starts Friday, Oct. 14th through Sunday, Oct. 16th. My family loves this FREE event. Over 200 authors are coming to speak, sign, and sell their books. Take a look at this year's line-up.

There's so much going on each day. Check out the schedule here (note that 1st panel:)
They have live music, children's activities, readings, etc., all in the beautiful setting of Legislative Plaza and the state Capitol Building.

Stop by and say hi. I'd love to meet you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Talking to Kids About Death

I have a chapter in HEALING about supporting children and teenagers while grieving. Still, there's so much more to explore on this subject.

Every age presents its own challenges and unique needs. From a toddler's confusion over a missing parent to a high schooler's rebellion after the death of a sibling, the response of a caregiver will change dramatically. It's not just age that dictates how you should deal with their pain, though. As every parent knows, personality determines your approach. From how you break the news to how you observe birthdays, you will likely handle every child differently.

I would like to hear from you now. Tell me about your experiences. Did someone close to you die when you were young? Are you the parent of a grieving child?

If so, what has/has not worked for you? What do you say or do for other young people now after a death? What you NOT say or do?

Thanks so much. Your honest answers will help others know how to best comfort another child, and to avoid saying those words that haunt you still.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shout Outs

This is going to be a great big thank you post. To many people, for many reasons. I've only done four book signings for HEALING, and already, there are so many people I want to recognize. Because of their help, this book is getting out there. Most of them have suffered a loss and understand what it means to grieve. Whatever their reasons for helping, I want to thank them here for their contributions. I appreciate you all!

Turner Publishing
Thank you for believing in my project and giving HEALING a chance.

I want to thank everyone at Turner, including Caroline Garner, Lauren Kerensky, Frankie Danly, and, of course, Todd Bottorff who have done so much to support HEALING. I'm thankful for all your hard work!

Caris Healthcare
I wanted to partner with hospice at every event, so I called Alyson Cutshall of Caris Healthcare. She went above and beyond to help me reach patients, caregivers, and the communities I visited. Because of her efforts, I was able to meet some remarkable hospice workers. I loved getting to talk with them about the families they served (no names!) and the services they provide. They answered questions at every event, and even signed up a few volunteers!

Here I am with the Caris reps at the Knoxville signing at Barnes and Noble-

Craig Colagrossi and Michael Cox make amazing wine. Period. The fact they sent wine for HEALING's Franklin signing only made me love it more! It was an incredibly generous gift, and everyone raved about their L'inizio. Pictured are Landmark Booksellers owners, Joel and Carol Tomlin, myself, and Craig and Beth Colagrossi.

If you're reading this, then I want to thank you. When I started this book, I knew the odds of getting published were dismal. I was told new writers have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than getting a book deal. I was also told that no one wanted to read about death and grief. Thankfully, I'm too stubborn to listen to reason:) The truth is that those who have dealt with a personal loss or the grief of others DO want to read about it. You sat for interviews, you read the blog, the tweets, the facebook conversations, and you commented often! You bought the books and emailed me about your own pain. You shared your stories with me and with each other, and I thank all of you for your bravery, honesty, and vulnerability.

You honored the memories of those who died, and in turn, maybe healed a little yourself.

Thank you.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Book signings have been going well. I will post more soon (with never-before-seen pix!:), but didn't want to wait any longer to thank everyone who came out.

I don't want to wait to thank Caris, either. The hospice workers they have sent to EVERY EVENT have been magnificent. Huge thanks to Alyson Cutshall for arranging everything from promotional flyers to who went where. You understood what I was trying to do from the beginning, and I appreciate your help deeply.

Okay, that's all for now, but pictures soon. (Wait til you see the one of my door greeters from Saturday!)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Here It Comes!

Tomorrow is the official release date for Healing, but Amazon has it out today!

Once again, thank you to everyone who graciously sat for an interview for the book. I wish you could all see the messages I get from readers. The book's facebook page (you can go there by clicking on the link in the sidebar to the right.) is starting to draw people in who were looking for a place to discuss their grief experiences. Every day I get at least one direct message from someone about their story. For some, the death is recent and they're still in that stunned phase. For others, like the mother of a young, beautiful dancer in her early 20s, it's been a few years and they tell me of the work done in their honor.

Each one is precious and reminds me why I started this in the first place.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Book Signings!

Upcoming Book Signing Events-

4/28 Knoxville, TN Barnes and Noble 4-6PM

4/30 Pigeon Forge, TN Book Warehouse 2PM

5/6 Franklin, TN Landmark Booksellers 5:30PM

5/7 Murfreesboro, TN Hastings 2PM

Come pick up your copy of Healing: The Essential Guide to Helping Others Overcome Grief and Loss. I'd love to see you!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Everything You Need to Know About Funerals That One Will Tell You

Recently I was asked to contribute my list of 5 things families should know about funeral planning. I'm sure it won't surprise you to know I told them a "straight list" wasn't really my style. I submitted the following. Let the comments begin!

The Five Things No One Tells You About Funeral Planning

Ugly Truth #1
This may be the worst shopping imaginable, but you are still a consumer.
Final arrangements can be very expensive. Chances are, you're in no condition to ask many questions, so take someone with you when taking care of business.

Ugly Truth #2
Somebody's About to Say Something Stupid
Whether it's an acquaintance, friend, or even a family member, someone will say a very wrong thing. Considering the awkwardness most of us feel when approaching the grieving family, we shouldn't be surprised when emotional panic comes out in a wild faux pas. The important thing for you to know is the best reaction is no reaction. They'll be replaying the scene in their mind and kicking themselves for years to come, so why bother? Walk away.

Ugly Truth #3
Houses Are Burglarized During Funerals
I know, it's shocking, but it's true. These animals scan the newspaper for funeral announcements, then google the family's address(es) and get to work. The easy fix? Have someone stay behind during the service. Trust me when I tell you there is someone who desperately wants to help you but is freaked out by funerals. Having them house-sit will make you both feel better.

Ugly Truth #4
The Obituary is Not a Report Card
If someone has strong opinions about writing the obituary, let them do it. Make sure the name of the deceased is spelled correctly, then step aside. When it comes to survivors, don't worry about being listed first, last, or not at all. Nothing that is written can change your relationship with the person who has died. Don't let this become a battle. It's not worth fighting.

Ugly Truth #5
Someone Will Let You Down
There will be someone who loves you very much, but will not attend the service, send flowers, a card, or even call. This doesn't mean they don't care about you or the person who died. It usually means they are either paralyzed with fear over saying the wrong thing, or some past experience has made them unable to handle death in general. It's only natural to be hurt by this apparent abandonment, but a forgiving heart will serve you both. Take comfort in those who are able to support you, and know you're not alone.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Holding On, Letting Go

You can't take it with you. This means it's all left behind for someone to manage.

When someone dies, it generally goes one of two ways- either there are surviving family members living in the home, or someone has a full house to empty. This can be a herculean task. It's not just a physically demanding job. It's an emotional minefield. Everything you touch is a reminder of the person who has died. It can be overwhelming to deal with your grief while tending to the business of death.

Notify friends and family, call the insurance agent, get the death certificate, plan the funeral, etc., etc., and then face reality. You will have to dismantle their environment. Their house is not a shrine. It has to be sorted through. This means moving their glasses from where they were left by the bed. Finding a new home for their pet. Disposing of their medications. Soon, it no longer smells like them. You stop listening for their car in the driveway. You remove the tape from their answering machine because hearing their voice on the greeting is more than you can take. It's no longer their house. It's your job.

Now you must make the same decision for every single item in the place- to keep, or not to keep? My father died as I was getting ready to move 2,000 miles away. This meant I had a short time to deal with two houses. Ultimately, I whittled my father's belongings down to 10 boxes, 2 crates and one large trunk full of letters, pictures, and books. I'd ship it all to our new home and deal with it there. Well, that was almost ten years ago and I still haven't finished. In fact, I've barely started.

Without the deadline looming overhead, I guess I've found it easier to procrastinate than finish. To make it even more complicated, much of what I saved belonged to my father's grandparents. It's like a time capsule from Portland, Oregon, circa 1900. After one aborted mission to donate much of it to the Oregon Historical Society, I once again packed it up and vowed to "get it done" another day.

That day has arrived. To begin, I am separating personal items from historical items. This means keeping certain letters and pictures and ebaying the rest. Simple, right? Not so much. Let me tell ya, it's one big gray area. Even when I do determine which is which, it still presents certain challenges. For instance, last week I put a postcard from 1907 on ebay with a starting bid of $5. The next day I noticed another seller with the same card had his up for $150. Sigh.

I am DETERMINED not to give up again, though. I remind myself that nothing is to be gained by hanging onto all of this. It doesn't prove how much I loved my dad, it's not a sign of my loyalty or respect, and it doesn't guarantee my children will appreciate it one day, either. I keep in mind the risks of water damage, fire, and theft. Nope, holding on is not a good plan. I renew my resolve to showcase the most meaningful pieces and sell or donate the rest.

It's not easy, but I know it needs to be done. After all, if I don't, my kids will simply take my place in this dilemma.

What have you kept? What was hardest for you to give up? What advice do you have for others in this situation right now?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dad, Valentine's Day and Family Lessons

Daddy's Girl

I admit it. I was always a daddy's girl. Don't get me wrong. I was very close to my mom, too. I was lucky. I had two loving, involved parents. Still, my dad and I were tight. When my parents split, I couldn't bear to see him alone, so I left our cushy family home and slept on the lumpy couch of his rental house. I sought his approval and was always thrilled to see him in the audience of a school play or the sidelines of a little league game.

My dad always bought sentimental Valentine's Day cards for my mom, sister and me. The serious, mushy kind. I remember one year his girlfriend bought funny cards for them both to sign. I eventually worked up the nerve to tell him I missed the old ones. He smiled and said he liked those better too, and went back to them after that.

I could always count on my dad to be my biggest fan. He encouraged my love of cooking, eating anything I made. No matter how it turned out, he always claimed it was the best he had ever tasted. Over the years, I sang in a few bands. My dad saw me perform with all but one of them, often driving for hours to catch a show. Once I began writing music seriously, he would listen carefully to every demo. Without fail, he would predict, "Now, THAT'S a hit!"

It was a good life, knowing my dad would always support my dreams, celebrate my successes, and be my safe harbor no matter what.

You know what happens next, though. One night, a few hours after calling just to say hi, he died. No warning. No chance to say goodbye. After a full day's work, he simply went home, got into bed and died.

That was ten years ago, almost to the day. I'm not going to tell you there's no more sadness. There will always be tears to fight back when I see father-daughter Valentine's Day cards. I still catch myself wondering what he would have thought of something I'm doing, but I try and honor him in ways he would have liked. I celebrate his memory with my husband and children, whom he loved deeply. I pass down the lessons he taught me.

My mother died ten years before him. After months of tearful calls from me, he told me something I'll never forget. He said his own mother had shared these words after his beloved grandmother died. She explained he was still Grandma's special boy, but told him, "Life is for the living."

Life is for the living? This stopped me cold. Why, after a lifetime of constant encouragement and love, would he say something so heartless to me? I didn't understand at the time. It was too soon, perhaps, to accept the gift. He was right, of course. What sounded void of that encouragement and love I'd come to expect was actually full of both. He was putting me back on track. Later I thanked him and we had a beautiful talk about losing our mothers. I was struck at both the depth of his years-old grief as well as his ability to live fully in spite of it.

While going through his things, I found a Valentine he made for his mother when he was five. It was serious and mushy. She saved it, he saved it, and now I save it. Like the Valentine, her lessons are still in the family.

Life is for the living, I am still Daddy's girl, and Valentines should be mushy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are you sure, Amazon??

Sorry For Your Loss: What..." is currently ranked #25,821 out of over 8,000,000 books. (updated hourly)

This is from Amazon. This number sent me into what can only be called a state of euphoria.

25,821, you ask? This is exciting? I understand you never hear anyone chanting, "We're 25,821! We're 25,821!", but out of 8 million? Well now, that's different!

For me, it comes down to this- it's getting where we hoped it would. There are other people who felt the same need I did to reach out and connect while grieving, and maybe they're making those connections in the book. I wanted that reassurance that what I was feeling wasn't unusual, or weird, or unhealthy. 25,821 tells me I may have struck a chord. Sharing our personal grief experiences helps! There's comfort in knowing we're not alone. Maybe misery really does love company.

Maybe there's strength in numbers.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Yet Another Sign

As I've said here before, I LOVE the little winks we sometimes get from those who have died. When I was writing the book and asking for input, stories about post-death communications were among my favorites. Some were incredibly specific and compelling, others were so contrived as to be embarrassing. But what's consistent is the comfort we feel when they happen to us. It's no mystery as to why I love them. I want to believe my parents can see what's happening in my life. I want to believe our connections are too strong to be broken by death.

Last week my son was selected to be part of his school's basketball homecoming. He and his escort were all dressed up, announced during halftime, you know the drill.

Well, the week before, I had scanned a few pictures of my dad and despite my extreme caution, one of them got lost. I looked all over. I called the drugstore where I scanned them, but wasn't satisfied they had searched properly. I went, (twice!), and checked the scanner trays myself and looked through the lost and found. I grilled every member of my family and scoured the car for the stray photo. No luck. I was mad at myself for losing it, and may have to find a new drugstore.

Back to homecoming. The day before the big game, my son called me from school to give me some final details and told me he found the picture of Grandpa! Apparently it fell out of his backpack as he was turning in the paper giving his escort's name, etc.

Was this just a coincidence? To anyone else, that would be the obvious conclusion. To me, though, I just don't see how it could have possibly gotten into my son's school papers. The fact it just happened to "fall out" during this exciting time for him seems a tad convenient. Still, I have to acknowledge my desire for it to be an "Atta boy!" from my dad. He loved David so much....

Thank you, Dad. Thanks for the wink. I miss you every day, and if I believe these signs are proof that you are still with me, well, where's the harm in that?

Thoughts on Hope

From Donna Marie Thompson, the host of Blog Talk Radio-

Hope is a Renewable Resource

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” Albert Einstein

Where does hope come from? And where can I get more of it – you might ask. Hope comes from your desire to seek a better future. It can come from the realization and acceptance that you cannot do it alone combined with the courage to reach out. Hope can come from reaching out to God to help guide you on your path – from out of the darkness and into the light. Hope can lift you out of sadness and help you focus on a new beginning. Or a renewal.

Hope can instill a renewed enthusiasm that there is indeed something more and better to come. Yes, you are a major player in making your new future happen. Yes, you can marshal your resources toward an important goal. Hope opens possibilities but you must be open to them and willing to let go of the past that is holding you back. You need to make room for hope in your life.

Three- Step Call to Action

  1. Decide to seek a better future and define what that entails.
  2. Commit to replacing negative thoughts with hope.
  3. Take action toward your goal.

Just Say No to the Status QuoTM

  • About the Author

  • Hello, I'm Donna Marie Thompson, PhD, co-author of Bouncing Back:Thriving in Changing Times with Brian Tracy, David Riklan, Wayne Dyer, and John Assaraf. The 5 E's To Recovery Program provides a structured, supportive, and positive environment for you to find your joy and happiness - to heal and move on. To cope and conquer. To overcome.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Can I Have an Easier Question?

Today's post is from a brave and generous blogger, Maureen Hunter. Maureen is grieving the loss of her son, Stuart. She writes with heartbreaking honesty about her pain, but also shares where she finds hope and comfort. Her site is full of excellent tips and resources. An oasis for any parent with empty arms. Thank you, Maureen. For the work you are doing and your friendship! -Alicia

One question that instills horror and paralysis into the heart of any grieving mother is, “How many children do you have?” It seems such an innocent question to many, bandied about in general conversation and one that we ourselves would have asked countless times, but everything is different now and I don’t know about you but I want an easier question. I had thought about how I would answer that for the first time after Stuart died, I had it all sorted in my mind, how it would happen, what I would say…..but the reality was far from my imaginings.

One night I got something in my eye, it wouldn’t budge. With eyes streaming and one eye half shut I had to go to the local hospital for after hour’s treatment. I had been there only 3 weeks previous, in the very same room, when my son was taken there initially after his accident. I remembered everything but I was stoical, I was coping. But then, the nurse, whilst ‘fixing’ my eye said, “How many children do you have?” Instantly my eyes welled up with tears and I became totally speechless. This was the first time anyone had asked me that since Stuart died and I couldn’t respond, no words would come out and I was totally overwhelmed with the impact the question had on my very being.

It’s happened so many times since then and now I have a bit of a repertoire up my sleeve. Circumstances dictate what I will say, whether I play it safe and say “I have 3 children” or whether I tell the whole story and elaborate. It all depends on who’s asking, the relationship I have with them and the social situation I am in. It also depends on how I feel emotionally. Sometimes I don’t have the inner strength to go into details, to add that little bit more, so I keep it brief for my own sake. That’s just how it is. But for me, its always 3, I have 3 children, always have and always will have.

-Maureen Hunter

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Great Advice For the New Year

This is a great piece from my new friend in Vancouver, Susan Moore. Susan is doing some exciting work in bereavement and life management there. You'll find a link to her site at the end.

The Start of a New Year

For many, the New Year brings a sense of excitement; a new opportunity to create change, get in shape, stop smoking, recover from the holidays and set goals for the next 12 months. For those who have lost a loved one during the holidays, the start of the New Year can be devastating.

There is seasonality to death rates with marked increases before and after the New Year. In addition to the standard increases in seasonal flu’s, weather related accidents and overindulgence, the spike in the death rates can also be attributed to the strength of the human spirit. Hospice and palliative care workers have often witnessed terminally ill patients ‘hanging on’ through the holidays, wanting to share another holiday, not wanting to make the holidays a time of grief.

If you have lost a loved one during the holidays, you are not alone and there is support available for you. The Living Through Loss Counselling Society of BC ( is a not-for-profit organization that provides professional grief counselling to adults and children. You can contact LTLC by telephone at 604-873-5013 to get more information or to schedule an appointment. The BC Bereavement Helpline ( is a non-profit, free, and confidential service that connects the public to grief support services within the province of BC. The helpline can be contacted at 604-738-9950 or toll free at 1-877-779-2223.

I have had the opportunity to work very closely with LTLC and BC Bereavement during that past year and I am awed by the incredible support they provide to those in need.

If you are the primary caregiver, family or friend of someone who is dealing with a life-limiting illness, the support organizations shown above are also there to help you. Grief is something that affects us all before, during and after the death of a loved one. There isn’t a time limit for grief – starting or ending.

These support services are also there for you if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. This is a huge, devastating, painful experience and accessing the support services available in the community can help you understand, cope, process the huge challenges you are facing.

Self care is very important when grieving and care giving. Lynnette Pollard-Elgert, Executive Director of LTLC & I co-authored an article printed in the Vancouver Sun dealing with Grief and the Holidays. Many of the same points about self care can be applied after the holidays:

- Drink water and lots of it! Water helps to flush toxins from the body. Grief creates excess amounts of stress hormones, like Cortisol, which is associated with disease, sleep disturbances, and other physical maladies such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and stomach disorders.

- Stay away from alcohol. This can be difficult during the holiday season. Alcohol is a depressant, spikes blood sugar, dehydrates, and is not helpful during the grieving process. It may numb the pain for a short time, however the grief process does not move forward it holds you in the same place you were before the alcohol and you feel worse the next day.

- Rest. Rest helps boost the immune system and counteracts the effects of stress on the body. Office parties, family events, and children’s holiday functions can all be exhausting. Taking time to rest is particularly important when normal sleep patterns are interrupted.

- Eat healthfully. Grief often significantly increases or decreases appetite. Holiday foods, while tempting, are usually high in sugar and fat – so enjoy these “treats” in moderation. It is important to eat a healthful, balanced diet with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables.

- Take supplements. Talk to your doctor about adding a Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin D to your diet. Vitamin B complex helps manage stress. Vitamin D helps balance mood and counteracts the effects of low exposure to sunlight, which can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder in some people during the winter.

- Exercise. Physical activity releases serotonin in the brain, which, in turn, helps balance mood, increases energy, boost the immune system, and normalize sleep. Winter weather can put a damper on going outside for exercise. Consider physical activities that can be done indoors like yoga, swimming or aerobics.

- Self care. Take time to do the things that make you feel good. This can include getting a massage, seeing a movie, or eating at your favorite restaurant.

- Talk. Spend time with family and friends who will let you speak as much or as little as you need. Processing the loss of a loved one is exactly that – a process. Talking about what is happening for you will help you heal.

- Take time. Grief does not have a timeline – it takes as long as it takes. Spend time with people who support you and who do not expect you to ‘be over it’.

- Feel what you feel. The death of a loved one is painful. Many people feel ‘guilty’ if they laugh or have fun after someone has died. Do not judge yourself for enjoying some holiday activities.

- Ask for help. Reaching out and asking for help is not a weakness. Everyone needs support. You are not a burden. If you do not want to rely on friends and family, there are community resources that specialize in bereavement support:

Bell Alliance Transitions can provide you with the support you need to during any critical life change. We provide a free, no obligation needs assessment in the privacy of your home. Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We are here to help!


Susan Moore, President
Bell Alliance Transitions, Bereavement & Life Management Support Inc.
Suite 201 – 1367 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V6H 4A7

Tel: (604) 873-8723 Ext. 139
Cell: 778-789-4271
Fax: (604) 873-8785

When someone dies, (other than attending the service), I do this for the family-