TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: OnLine Sites Offer Help for Holiday Grief

OnLine Sites Offer Help for Holiday Grief

Lisa Baertlein, Reuters (
Sat, 23 Dec 2006 23:03:09 -0600

By Lisa Baertlein

As excitement over the holidays builds so does the dread for millions
of people grieving loved ones, sparking a rush to Web sites offering
advice on how to cope with what can be a blizzard of emotions.

David Kessler, who co-wrote the book "On Grief and Grieving" with
Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, author of the groundbreaking end-of-life book
"On Death and Dying," gets more e-mails this time of the year and said
it's normal to feel a little extra pain and sorrow if someone you love
has died.

"The holidays, since we were children were about togetherness and loss
is the opposite of togetherness," said Kessler, who lists grief
resources and tips on coping with holidays on Web site

For those in the grip of loss, anticipating holidays can be the
fraught with pain and anxiety.

Kessler advises people to accept invitations, to light a candle for
loved ones, to share memories and to talk to friends who listen
without passing judgment or offering advice.

Above all, he encouraged people to remember that there is no right way
to grieve.

"Grief doesn't take a holiday," Noreen Carrington, director of the
Center for Grief Care and Education at San Diego Hospice, said in a

Still, she and others said you can take a break from the holidays --
if that's what feels right: "Don't be afraid to make changes this
year. Sometimes it can be very stressful to keep up with holiday
traditions when a loved one has died. Whatever you choose to do this
year may be different next year, and that's okay."

Cendra Lynn founded the online community, which
operates 24 hours a day and has various support groups.

There are groups for people who have lost a spouse or partner, a
child, a parent, a sibling or a friend, as well as those dealing with
health-related losses or supporting the bereaved. Its site for
children is at

"When we are bereaved we are comforted most by those who have suffered
a similar loss. With them we know we are understood, that we are safe
to experience the multiple aspects of our grief," Lynn said in a note
to users.

In the United States, two to three million people died last
year. About 200,000 people have loved ones who will die during this
holiday season.

"While we are celebrating, they're sitting by a bedside," said Kessler.

For those who will be spending time with people who are dealing with
loss, Kessler says: "Allow them to grieve. Don't try to cheer them up.
Know it's a situation that can't be fixed. The greatest gift you can
give them is your presence."

In its holiday section, reminds people not to
feel guilty if they find themselves enjoying the holiday.

"Having a good time does not mean that you have forgotten your loved
one," the site said.

Copyright - 2006 Reuters Limited.

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