A Sample Holiday Letter to Friends and Family

Dear Friends and Family,

The holiday Seasons is a time of peace and happiness; a time of family gatherings and a bond of closeness felt more strongly than on any other holiday of the year.

There are also very different emotions surfacing now for those of us who have experienced the death of a child, sibling, or spouse. We may be angry, depressed, fearful or we may just not care. There may be a deep consuming anguish for those having their first holiday; a few tears and the remembrance of “how it used to be”, for those experiencing the second, third or twenty-third holiday.

There are times when it is too painful to tell you how we feel, or why we act a certain way. Sometimes we don’t know ourselves. We can’t tell you why today; hearing a song, seeing a child going into a store, seeing his/her favorite food, should bring memories and tears, when yesterday it didn’t.

We may want to change things this holiday, do things differently than we have in the past. This is our way of coping with the Holiday. Please take our feelings into consideration when making your plans.

For some of us, shopping, buying gifts, can be difficult or extremely painful. It seems you always have to pass, or find yourself in, that section of the store where you no longer need be. Small tasks that we did last year, remain undone. They may not seem important, we may not have the energy, or they are just too painful to do.

Please don’t tell us to turn off our memories, to snap out of it, that he/she is dead and life must go on. We, more than you, know our loved one is dead. But our love for them doesn’t end with death. All we have left of a very special part of our lives are the memories, and they return at unexpected times, filling us with the intense longing for what is not more. Yes, we fully realize that he/she is dead, gone forever, and that is what hurts.

Please have patience with us. Try to understand why we are acting or feeling the way we are today. With a small look or gesture, let us know it is all right with you for us to love, to cry, to remember. We aren’t doing it to make you uncomfortable or to gain sympathy. We are just trying to cope. Please help us “make it through” this Holiday season.

– Author Unknown

Client sharing – "8 Ways to Stop Living in Crisis Mode"

At The Healing Center, we like to say, “take what resonates with you, and leave the rest.”  Although we make a point to not offer advice to each other (because we all get ENOUGH advice), we do like to share what has worked for the many widows and widowers who’ve come through our door over the past 20 years.

One of our Healing Center widows passed on this blog from Tiny Buddha today.  Please comment on your ways of coping with stress so we can be reminded about all the ways available to self-care through our grieving journey.

Let Go and Experience Life: 8 Ways to Stop Living in Crisis Mode | Tiny Buddha


1. Find a neutral advocate.

Objective outside support is crucial during a crisis period. Friends and family can often recommend a life coach, therapist, or spiritual advisor with whom they have worked. If you are reluctant to talk with friends, you can use social networking tools like LinkedIn to see if someone in your network is connected to an individual who can help.

2. Practice mindfulness.

There’s value in focusing on our breath to quiet the turmoil in our minds. Look for a meditation or spiritual center that offers a basic class in meditation, mindfulness, or prayer. Even ten minutes each day in quiet reflection will improve your focus, resiliency, and peace of mind.

3. Replenish yourself.

You might be depleted from years of constant vigilance and striving. Commit to leave at the end of your workday, at least a few days a week, even if everything isn’t done. Reconnect with parts of yourself that you haven’t seen for a while by watching a favorite movie or surrounding yourself with your favorite color.

4. Try another perspective.

Most people are doing their best but are primarily caught up in the storyline of their own lives. Even thirty seconds of viewing a situation from another’s point of view can diffuse your negative inner dialogue about a person or situation.

To read the next 4 Ways visit

Let Go and Experience Life: 8 Ways to Stop Living in Crisis Mode | Tiny Buddha.

Wishes to You

Dear Healing Center Friends,

We have found here at The Healing Center that the holiday season can be an exceptionally stressful time for many of us. When you have experienced the loss of a loved one, it can often feel overwhelming to navigate all that is expected of you. When you are trying to merely survive each day, this added pressure can sometimes feel like too much.

Now, especially, is the time to reach out to your supports and tap into your resources. For some, a support might be a massage, a warm bath, or writing in your journal. For others, it may be calling a good friend who understands, reaching out to another group member, taking a walk in nature, or doing something creative.

Whatever you do, it is equally important to ask yourself “Do I need this? Do I want this?” And of course, don’t forget when you are making plans to create an escape route. Plan A is always an option, but have you thought about a Plan B or maybe even C?

Remember, you always have options. Ask yourself or others for what you need. Even if you change your mind several times, go with what feels most comfortable to you. Most importantly during this time, be gentle with yourself. In doing this you are honoring not only yourself and family, but your loved one as well.

As always, The Healing Center wishes to extend to you and your family grace and peace during this holiday season.

Your Healing Center Support Team,

Dani, Tom, Rebecca, Lisa, Jane, Scott, Michele, Marshall, Mary, Jill, Jeanne and Brian

Save the Date Transition Group Retreat!

Transition Group Retreat will take place the end of September, on the beautiful Vashon Island, led by our Adult Program Director, Dani Baker and our wonderful co-facilitating volunteer, Jane.

This retreat is made possible because of the generous donation of the Betty MacDonald House, by our Board Secretary Abigail Carter, author of  “The Alchemy of Loss: a young widow’s transformation” and blog at www.abigailcarter.com.

DATE: September 30 – October 1

LOCATION: Vashon Island

For More Information: Dani Baker @ dani@healingcenterseattle.org