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Brown teddy bear dropped on wooden couch.

After the death of a loved one, holidays are never quite the same — whether it's the first holiday without them or many holidays later.

The Highmark Caring Place is dedicated to children and families coping with the death of someone important to them. Families can share their feelings in an atmosphere of acceptance, seeing that they are not alone in their grief and discovering that hope and healing are possible.

Experiencing a death can be overwhelming for anyone, but it is especially difficult for those who are young. The holiday season can often make these feelings of loss even more difficult.

Caring Place families share their experiences

The following thoughts have been gathered as Caring Place families have shared their experiences of the holiday season.

  • Anticipation of the holidays is often as difficult as the holidays themselves — and sometimes even more difficult.
  • Be gentle with yourself. Take whatever time for yourself you need.
  • Ask for support from family or friends, those who understand that the holidays can be more difficult and who allow you to be yourself during this difficult time.
  • Don't get caught in unreasonable expectations. You don't need to provide the perfect holiday — for yourself, for your children, or for others.
  • Focus on your needs and the needs of your family when thinking of changing traditions and perhaps discovering new meaning for the holidays.
  • Embrace your memories. Share memories of your loved one who has died.
  • Be respectful of each other's grief and hopes and allow everyone in the family to express their desires for the holidays.
  • Allow children and adolescents space to grieve in their own way.
  • Seek comfort in your faith. If your faith is important to you, being in the presence of a familiar, supportive community may nourish you.
  • Your grief is important and unique. Be patient with yourself and with your children.
Highmark Caring Place locations

The Highmark Caring Place provides support groups, referrals, telephone support, and more at no cost to children and families in need. Services are available at four locations across Pennsylvania in Erie, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Warrendale.

To learn more about the Highmark Caring Place's programs and services or to find out how to become part of a support group, visit the Highmark Caring Place's website.