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Grief Out Loud

Updated 7 days ago

Society & Culture
Health & Fitness
Mental Health
Relationships
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Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.

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Remember the last time you tried to talk about grief and suddenly everyone left the room? Grief Out Loud is opening up this often avoided conversation because grief is hard enough without having to go through it alone. We bring you a mix of personal stories, tips for supporting children, teens, and yourself, and interviews with bereavement professionals. Platitude and cliché-free, we promise! Grief Out Loud is hosted by Jana DeCristofaro and produced by The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families in Portland, Oregon.

iTunes Ratings

130 Ratings
Average Ratings
103
17
4
5
1

A555

By Manda5 - May 01 2015
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Such helpful information presented in an accessible, welcoming way.

Clear and Helpful

By HDDGuy - Apr 20 2015
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Clear and helpful advice to help yourself and others.

iTunes Ratings

130 Ratings
Average Ratings
103
17
4
5
1

A555

By Manda5 - May 01 2015
Read more
Such helpful information presented in an accessible, welcoming way.

Clear and Helpful

By HDDGuy - Apr 20 2015
Read more
Clear and helpful advice to help yourself and others.
Cover image of Grief Out Loud

Grief Out Loud

Latest release on Feb 21, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 7 days ago

Rank #1: Ep. 82: The Before & After Worlds - Grieving A Sudden Death

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Five years ago Sarah was 23, doing what a lot of 23-year-olds do - working, hanging out with friends, starting life as a "real" adult, and living at home with her mom and dad. Then on a totally average day in May, Sarah walked into the house to find that her mom had an aortic aneurysm. The paramedics came and she was rushed to the hospital where she died later that night.

How do you go from being in one world - the world where your person is alive and washing dishes and folding laundry and calling your name down the hall - to another where this person no longer exists in their physical form? How do your brain and body and spirit even begin to make sense of that?

Sarah talks about the extremely close relationship she had with her mother and how she worked to bridge this before and after world of grief. 

Jun 08 2018

22mins

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Rank #2: Ep. 17: Grieving A Suicide Death

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Jana talks with Erin Shuster about the death of her brother from suicide. A former young adult group participant and volunteer, Erin talks openly about the unique aspects of grief when someone dies of suicide and how she learned to identify her needs and advocate for herself.  For information about our groups for young adults, visit: http://www.dougy.org/grief-resources/help-for-young-adults/

  Know a child who is grieving? The Dougy Center Workbook: After a Suicide Death: an Activity Book for Grieving Kids is designed for those ages 5-12.   Other great resources for suicide grief support:

Jun 26 2015

23mins

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Rank #3: Ep. 106: Grief & Anxiety - Claire Bidwell Smith. LCPC

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When grief enters our world, many of us expect to cry and feel frustrated, but we aren’t as prepared for the intense fear and worry that can also be part of loss. Someone being 10 minutes late getting home sparks visions of a car crash or getting a call from the hospital. A random ache or feeling extra tired leaves us thinking we must be dying. Maybe sleep eludes us as we spin over how to do day to day life without our people. Sometimes the hardest part about anxiety is how it can catch us off-guard, either because we’ve never dealt with it before, or because the anxiety we already knew well has ratcheted up to untenable levels.

Claire Bidwell Smith, a licensed counselor, author, mother, and grieving daughter recently published her new book, Anxiety, the Missing Stage of Grief, that delves into all the ways anxiety can be part of grief. Before Claire was 25, both of her parents died of cancer. Her adolescence and young adulthood were deeply etched with their illnesses, treatment, and deaths. Out of this devastating grief grew her desire to help others facing similar situations. 

Be sure to visit Claire's site to learn more about her work. 

Feb 25 2019

23mins

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Rank #4: Ep. 65: A Mother's Story - Sue Klebold

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Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School who, in 1999, killed twelve students and a teacher, and wounded more than 20 others before taking their own lives. In our conversation with we explore how current day mass tragedies continue to affect her. We also look at how tragedies like Columbine occur - and how someone's thinking can become suicidal and homicidal. Before publishing her book, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue spent 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she worked to advance mental health awareness. Sue is donating all author’s profits from her book to organizations that promote brain health and prevent suicide.

Resources mentioned in this episode:   Sue's TED Talk, My son was a Columbine shooter. This is my story. https://www.ted.com/talks/sue_klebold_my_son_was_a_columbine_shooter_this_is_my_story   Sue's Book, A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the aftermath of Tragedy http://amothersreckoning.com/   If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)   Music: "Which That Is This?" by Doctor Turtle From the Free Music Archive CC BY http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Doctor_Turtle/Jonahs_Message_for_New_York/Which_That_Is_This Music: "I Thought of Pills" by Lee Rosevere From the Free Music Archive CC BY http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/The_Big_Loop_-_FML_original_podcast_score/Lee_Rosevere_-_The_Big_Loop_-_FML_original_podcast_score_-_07_I_Thought_Of_Pills

Nov 20 2017

24mins

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Rank #5: Ep. 26: Grief And Complex Relationships (Part 3) - The Death Of A Parent

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The last in a three-part series talking with those grieving the death of someone when the relationship was complex, difficult, or challenging. Jana talks with Diana about her father who died after seven years of no contact with him. Her mother, whom she was very close with, died 13 years earlier. 

Nov 16 2015

21mins

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Rank #6: Ep. 59: When Grief Gets Awkward

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Interacting with others while grieving can be wildly confusing and tricky. You’ve probably been there. You run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time, likely in a public spot, and this someone doesn’t know the person in your life died. Maybe they ask an innocuous, “How are you?” or more specifically, “How's your mom, dad, husband, wife, partner, sibling, or friend… doing?” On the spot, you’re charged with either telling this person that your person died or faking a sudden and urgent task - maybe yelling out a “Hi! Sorry, I forgot I left my keys in the car. Bye!” In this episode, we talk with Caitlin Sweeney about these potentially awkward social interactions in the midst of grief. Caitlin’s mom died of a pulmonary embolism in November of 2015. Caitlin is the youngest of two and until recently, lived in the same town as her older sister and father. Just a note of acknowledgment that this episode is not meant to shame anyone who’s found themselves voicing platitudes in the face of grief. Platitudes are what we’ve been socialized to say and in a moment when we don’t know what else to say, they tend to jump out of our mouths. 

Jul 21 2017

21mins

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Rank #7: Ep. 38: What Helps When You're Grieving - Ideas For Body, Mind, and Spirit

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Jana is joined by Dougy Center staff member, Heather Dorfman, to talk about what helps (or might help) in grief, outside the realm of more formal support. As you listen to this episode, keep in mind:

  • These ideas may help for some, not others. What’s helpful can be unique for each person and very much informed by culture and other identities (just like grief).
  • Some may have more options around taking care of self and children than others. Support people can focus their efforts on creating opportunities for their grieving loved ones to engage in self-care and compassion.
  • Grief is holistic – involves emotions, body, mind, spirit/heart, community/relationships. Engaging in intentional activities to support each of these dimensions can be helpful.
  • Consider writing down the ideas you’d like to try - it can sometimes be tough to remember them in the moment they’re needed.
  • If accepting help from others is challenging, consider that your acceptance of support is often experienced as such a gift by your friend or loved one – so do it for their sake if necessary! 

Body/movement –

  • Grief can show up in our bodies as sluggishness, excess energy, stomach and sleep upsets
    • Walking, hiking or otherwise moving and spending time outside
    • Dancing, yoga, swimming
    • Punching pillows/bed
    • Knitting
    • Setting a fitness goal that is safe for you
    • Pay attention to what sorts of foods help with stomach upsets, and activities that help with settling into sleep and staying asleep at night.

Mind –

  • May experience a slow/foggy feeling in the brain, inability to concentrate/focus, confusion, rumination. Activities that help with focus, connection, and slowing things down can help.
    • Learning/sharing new facts. Making calculations – concrete activities
    • Reading (grief-related and non-grief books), podcasts, tv shows
    • Meditating
    • Crosswords/word searches/Sudoku/other games
    • Debating

Emotional/spiritual/social –

  • Many receive support from a spiritual or other community. Your community might look like being in the trees, at the ocean, in a gym or library, participating in a support group, mosque, temple or church. Here are some other ideas:
    • Meditation
    • Ceremony/ritual, which can offer a sense of control, routine/structure, marking important experiences, dates
    • Making or listening to music; making/experiencing other art (even coloring sheets). It may be helpful to make the activity simple for you
    • Humor – which might look like dark, silly, or wry humor
    • Cooking for self and others – or not cooking!
    • Volunteering, which can offer the opportunity to step out of your own story for a while

To find more formal grief support in your community, visit our website to search for help near you.

Aug 02 2016

26mins

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Rank #8: Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

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Losing and finding yourself in grief.

Brendon and Jana delve into the many layers of loss that we grapple with when someone dies and how that loss can change us. When we grieve, we miss the person and who they were in our lives. We miss who we were with them. Often we miss who we were in general before the death. As we think towards the future, we grieve for the events and occasions that we won’t share with the person.

Over time, people in grief may start to see themselves differently. What they value, prioritize, and want in life can change radically.

These changes occur on many levels:

  • Spiritual shifts
  • Difficulty remembering/accomplishing small tasks.
  • Want to be social/difficult to be around people
  • More compassionate/less able to tolerate everyday drama
  • Put more time and energy into relationships
  • Less concerned with work and material success/more immersed in work
  • Can’t seem to exercise/exercise all the time – need it
  • Increased interest in movies/books/songs about grief – vs. can’t tolerate them at all

As you sort through what is different, it can be helpful sit with a series of questions:

  • How do you see yourself now?
  • How do you see the world?
  • Which of these changes do you value?
  • What strengths have you discovered?
  • Where are the places in your life that you need additional support?
  • What parts of yourself do you miss and want to re-cultivate?

Here is a related article on The Dougy Center web site.

Apr 03 2015

22mins

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Rank #9: Ep. 72: Inviting Grief Out Of The Whisper Corner - Megan Devine

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Megan Devine, writer, speaker, and grief advocate discusses her work to bring grief out of the whisper corner. We talk about how to talk about grief, the death positivity movement, Megan's book, It's OK That You're Not OK - Meeting Grief & Loss in a Culture that Doesn't Understand, and what she terms the grief revolution.    Ways to connect with Megan that we reference in the episode:   Article - Death Positivity in the Face of Grief on The Order of the Good Death website.  (www.orderofthegooddeath.com/death-positivity-face-grief)   Book - It's OK That You're Not OK - Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn't Understand (www.refugeingrief.com/book/)   Website - Refuge in Grief (www.refugeingrief.com)   Review of her book in The New York Times  - Understanding Grief: Megan Devine and the Grief Revolution in Jane Brody’s Wellness column at the New York Times. (www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/learning/how-do-you-cope-with-grief.html)   Music written and performed by Leila Chieko

Feb 01 2018

30mins

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Rank #10: Ep. 63: Losing Someone Twice

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One aspect of grief that rarely gets mentioned is losing someone twice- once in a life-altering circumstance and again when they die. This feeling can arise from a variety of circumstances including substance abuse, mental illness, the personality changes related to a physical illness, or other situation where there is a radical change in a relationship long before someone dies. For people left behind, this can add a complexity in understanding their feelings of grief. Our guest Caraline's older brother Bobby died of mental illness in 2016, 10 years after being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Six months after Bobby's death, Caraline had an epiphany. She realized she never dealt with her feelings of grief surrounding his diagnosis. A realization that would serve as a major turning point in her grief.

To learn more about NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) visit: www.nami.org.

Oct 24 2017

21mins

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Rank #11: Ep. 18: Grieving The Death Of A Sibling - Tips For Supporting Children

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Jana talks with Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence, a staff member at The Dougy Center, about ways to support children who experience the death of a brother or sister. The loss of a child shatters assumptions parents hold regarding their role as protector and their beliefs about the natural order of children outliving their parents. A child’s death can cause tremendous upheaval in families as a parent’s overwhelming grief pulls them away from their surviving children, often leaving siblings alone to deal with their own grief. Children and teen siblings grieve a unique relationship, one of friend and foe, a companion that will travel alongside in life’s adventures. After a sibling death, children and teens may question their own importance, wondering, “Am I not enough?”  

  Suggestions for supporting a grieving sibling:
  1. Grieve together as a family, allowing space for the individual expression of grief.
  2. Celebrate together, choosing important days and rituals of remembrance.
  3. Talk with each other about anything and everything.
  4. Be together. It’s easy for parents or kids to isolate from each other. Try to find things to do together.
  5. Seek out support.
For additional suggestions, check out our Tip Sheet about siblings.

Jul 10 2015

23mins

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Rank #12: Ep. 51: Anger & Grief - Megan Devine

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Megan Devine joins us again, this time talking about another shadow aspect of grief - anger. Anger shows up in many ways, including being angry at the person who died, at ourselves, and at someone or something we hold responsible for the death. Megan shares her personal and professional insight on the importance of acknowledging this anger and finding ways to navigate what can often be a very uncomfortable emotion. Megan is a teacher, speaker, psychotherapist, and also the author of the book, It’s OK That You’re Not OK: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand, coming from Sounds True in September 2017. It's available for pre-order on Amazon and you can order it here. To learn more about Megan's practical, no-nonsense approach to grief, and her ability to guide people inside some of the most devastating experiences of life and love, check out her website. Want to listen to our first conversation with Megan about dating after the death of a partner? You can find it here.

Mar 15 2017

23mins

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Rank #13: Ep. 54: Self-Compassion As Self-Care In Grief - Heather Stang

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Heather Stang, thanatologist, mindfulness speaker, and author of Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations To Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit, joins us to talk about cultivating self-compassion as a powerful avenue for self-care while grieving. She shares an accessible technique that you can use anywhere to get connected to your emotional and physical needs and bring ease and understanding to the some of the most painful aspects of grief. 

To learn more about Heather's amazing work and listen to guided meditations, visit her website. (www.heatherstang.com)

Apr 28 2017

27mins

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Rank #14: Ep. 97: An Unexpected Devastation

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For Camila, death came barreling into her world with zero warning. When she was 21 her world shifted on its axis on an average morning in September. She woke up in the house she shared with her mother in the Bay Area expecting just another day. Then, she went to check on her mother, only to find that she had died in her sleep. There were no warning signs. No indicators that anything was amiss. Her mom was there and then she wasn’t. In the 9 years since that morning, Camila has grieved intensely and intently. She’s searched for connections with her mother, finding an outlet for expression in writing.

Check out Camila's recently published book of poetry: The Progression of Grief. 

Full text of the poem Camila reads at the end of the episode:

The Absence of Her   As the crisp November breeze Drowns out the rest of October, The aching sadness Meanders in.    At first, I attribute it To anxiety, To my fear of scarcity Rooted from fantasy nightmares Instead of reality. I want to blame it on The cold Or how nostalgic the Changing seasons Makes me feel.    But as the days pass, And it becomes mid November, And the familiarity of this pain Settles into all the crevices of my heart, I know what this really is.    My grief returns, Amused mildly at my assessment That it ever left.  As the orange and yellow leaves Are more present crumbled on the ground Than dancing on the branches, I feel myself pulling inwards.   In the absence of The lady in purple, The woman who always made me feel Like everything would be okay, I have created a life that I love. A life better than I ever Could have imagined.    And yet, The absence of her, At times --  Many times, Still feels gaping, Still feels unjust, Still feels like I will never recover.    In the absence of The lady in purple, I allow myself to see all The signs of hope and connection, Always craving another connection to her.    As we barrel forwards, Approaching another holiday season, Another winter, Another year, The hole within me still feels gaping, Still feels empty, Still craving her love and comfort  to fill it. ~Camila Martin

Nov 28 2018

23mins

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Rank #15: Ep. 40: Grieving An Overdose Death (Part 2 of 3) - The Loss Of A Child

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In part two of our three-part series on grief after an overdose death, we talk with Samina, whose son Ayaz died of a heroin overdose. The episode starts with Samina reading a poem that came to her while sitting on an airplane. She describes the poem as coming through her, as if Ayaz was speaking and she was the one with the pen. We discuss the heartbreak Samina and her family faced as they tried to help Ayaz through his addiction. Samina also shares insights from her experience and describes what helped and didn't help in the early parts of grief. 

To learn more about their national networks of support groups for grieving parents, please visit The Compassionate Friends

Oct 16 2016

23mins

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Rank #16: Ep. 2: Ashes & Funerals

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In this episode, Jana and Brendon, answer two questions from the community. The first is from a mother of two young children who wonders what she can do with the ashes of her partner. The second from a young adult struggling with whether they should go to the funeral of a close friend’s mother. In this frank conversation, we discuss common and not so common options for what to do with ashes and outline some foundational questions to consider, both for adults and children when deciding.  

Two resources with ideas for what to do with the ashes of someone who dies:

Jan 29 2015

20mins

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Rank #17: Ep. 56: Grief In The Present Tense

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John Mayer first encountered grief when his older brother Stephen suddenly died at age 29 in 2007. Nine years later, John's second daughter, River, died 90 minutes after her birth. John talks about how he keeps Stephen and River present in his daily life and the ways he and his family reached out to their community for support. John also describes how his older daughter, who was 2 when River died, is making sense of her sister's death. 

Jun 02 2017

18mins

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Rank #18: Encore Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

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It's a New Year's Eve encore episode and we're bringing back Ep. 11: Who Am I Now?

Brendon and Jana delve into the many layers of loss that we grapple with when someone dies and how that loss can change us. When we grieve, we miss the person and who they were in our lives. We miss who we were with them. Often we miss who we were in general before the death. As we think towards the future, we grieve for the events and occasions that we won’t share with the person.

Over time, people in grief may start to see themselves differently. What they value, prioritize, and want in life can change radically.

These changes occur on many levels:

  • Spiritual shifts
  • Difficulty remembering/accomplishing small tasks.
  • Want to be social/difficult to be around people
  • More compassionate/less able to tolerate everyday drama
  • Put more time and energy into relationships
  • Less concerned with work and material success/more immersed in work
  • Can’t seem to exercise/exercise all the time 
  • Increased interest in movies/books/songs about grief –  can’t tolerate them

As you sort through what is different, it can be helpful sit with a series of questions:

  • How do you see yourself now?
  • How do you see the world?
  • Which of these changes do you value?
  • What strengths have you discovered?
  • Where are the places in your life that you need additional support?
  • What parts of yourself do you miss and want to re-cultivate?

Dec 30 2019

22mins

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Rank #19: Ep. 103: Staying Connected In Grief - Allison Gilbert

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We hear about how powerful and important it can be to keep memories and connection alive with the people we are grieving, but how do we actually do that? Allison Gilbert, Emmy award-winning journalist, speaker, and workshop leader, is the author of numerous books including the groundbreaking, Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive, which outlines 85 creative ways to remember those who have died. We discuss turning a treasured recipe into a scavenger hunt, repurposing clothing, books, and other belongings, and how to navigate this idea when the relationship you had with the person was complicated or conflicted.    Read more from Allison: Website Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive Q&A's with actors, writers, and other public figures "The Reflection Effect" essay in O, the Oprah Magazine

Jan 24 2019

26mins

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Rank #20: Ep. 98: Under Pressure - Grief & December Holidays

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This episode first aired in December, 2018. Nothing says end of the calendar year holiday stress like grief. Dougy Center staff member Rebecca Hobbs-Lawrence is back with more suggestions around planning for and making your way through the December holidays when you and your family are in the midst of grief. We recognize too that for families who don't observe the December holidays, daily life can become very stressful in the midst of the frenzy that gets created by those who do.  

Follow The Dougy Center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@thedougycenter) for more Dougy's December Tips. 

Dec 09 2019

27mins

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