For those who have experienced loss, recently or in the past, holidays can be painful and isolating. Grief counselor Angie Cartwright, founder of National Grief Awareness Day, stresses the importance of assuring your loved one that there is a place for them if and when they’re ready. Accept that someone is in pain and give them permission to express that pain in the company of others, says author David Kessler. And start early, he says - call at the start of the season and check in throughout. Alan Wolfelt, director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition, says grief and mourning are different. Mourning is the shared response to loss; it’s how people integrate the loss into their lives, begin to heal, and eventually rebuild hope and meaning. “Don’t leave them alone,” he said. “Then they’re grieving, but they’re not mourning. They need to know you’re there.”

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