My mother passed away from cancer earlier this year. Do you have any tips for coping with our first holiday without her?

There is no single thing during the holiday season that can alleviate the grief from losing a loved one.

The most important thing to remember is to do what is comfortable. You might not feel comfortable continuing all of your holiday traditions in the exact same manner. You also might not feel comfortable spending the entire day with friends or family like you used to. It is important to remember that your loved ones will also be dealing with the loss of your mother and that you should communicate your feelings and thoughts with them.

Some people might wish to have a memorial or to light a candle in remembrance. Others might feel more comfortable simply making a memorial donation or making the deceased’s favorite recipe. It is important that all family members be respectful of the ways which others grieve and be willing to compromise.

Try to plan in advance how you will handle the holidays, and let your friends and family know what those plans are. Many grief support groups offer special assistance during the holiday season. Cancer Services offers a weekly grief support group open to anyone coping with the death of a loved one.

For more information contact Courtney Britton, librarian at Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge at (225) 927-2273, cbritton@cancerservices.org , or visit the Education Center at 550 Lobdell Ave., Baton Rouge.

ä Internet Resources:

Coping with Cancer During the Holidays – CancerCare

cancercare.org/reading_room/fact_sheets/fs_holidays.php

Grief and the Holidays – Hospice Foundation of America

hospicefoundation.org

This column is presented as a service by Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge, a United Way affiliate.