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How to deal with grief and loss during the holidays

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 7:47 AM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Thousands of families are grieving this holiday season, especially as the pandemic rages on. More than 16,000 people across Alabama died from COVID-19 in the past two years with more people dying in 2021 compared to 2020.

Lisa Lapidus works as a licensed independent clinical social worker in Huntsville, she says the way to move through it is just to acknowledge what you’re feeling, no matter the emotion and know that it’s ok to talk about the loss.

“I think a lot of the times when we’re aware that someone else has lost a member of the family they avoid the subject thinking its too sad to bring up but a lot of people want to hear their loved one’s name,” Lapidus says.

Another way Lapidus encourages people who are dealing with grief is to ask a friend for help.

“Reach out. Especially during the holidays, people can think they’re being a burden or a ‘Debbie Downer’ and bring people down with their grief and their sadness,” she says. “The thing is, I don’t know very many people who really feel burdened by someone else’s pain. I think most people are honored to walk beside them and feel like they’ve been helpful.”

The key to helping your friends deal with loss, according to Lapidus, is to just simply listen.

“I think the best question you can ask is ‘what is the best way for me to support you’ and just quiet down and really listen. Because sometimes you don’t really need to say anything because it’s not about saying the right thing it’s about holding space and being present and acknowledging the pain,” she says.

The state of Alabama provides a free resource to help people grieving the loss of loved ones who died from COVID-19. It’s called the Alabama COVID Response Unit. They offer free mental health services. To schedule an appointment call 205-949-2961, email mbourque@jbsmha.com or go online to jbsmentalhealth.com/acru/.

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