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Season's Grievings

From The Director Winter 2019

Dear Friends,

2019 has been a wonderful year for Mary’s Place and so many have benefited from our programs. We are grateful to all of you who have supported our center and allowed our work to flourish.

Our groups continue to change and see growth in different ways. Participants form friendships which we can instinctually tell will be lifelong bonds. It is heartwarming to see these connections being made in the midst of grief, when they are needed most and especially during the holidays.

After the loss of a loved one, holidays can be difficult, to say the least. Some may want to embrace the holiday season but others may want to do something different such as take a trip, or as I have heard it said many times by those in grief, “I wish we could just skip the holidays”. If you are grieving this holiday season, I encourage you to give yourself permission to do what feels comfortable to you and to let go of the expectations of others. As we often say at Mary’s Place- be gentle with yourself. If you know someone who has suffered a loss, please reach out and let them know they are in your thoughts.

We all have wisdom to offer from our own experience and perspective, whether it is a belief, a lesson or a string of inspirational words. I have shared my thoughts and feelings countless times in these newsletters. In this edition, I thought you would enjoy hearing from the other staff members of Mary’s Place. I am sure their words will resonate with you as they did with me.

Do you have any wisdom to share for those who are grieving this holiday season?

“As the holiday season approaches, grief can become heavy and overwhelming. Let us who live with the loss of our loved ones take time for ourselves and make use of the power of silence. Silence can offer emotional quiet and mental relief from the ongoing reminders of those no longer with us. Take a few minutes alone. Sit quietly and breathe deeply. I’m reminded of a quote by William Penn which states, “True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment.” Take time to rest, reflect and refresh.”- Justine Stagon, LCSW, Program Director

How do you keep your loved ones memory alive?

“You can find your loved ones in their favorite places, their favorite songs, their favorite flowers, in their recipes of treasured baked dishes, in the spoon they always used to stir their tea. Share memories, take the love they gave you, and spread it around. In that way - they're always a part of you and your days. Never as far as they may feel.”

- Emilea Gartrell, Outreach Coordinator

What has helped you make it through a tough holiday?

“During the holidays it has been helpful for me to reflect on joyful memories of times spent with loved ones who are no longer here. Keeping up with my holiday traditions but welcoming new traditions and knowing it is okay to make new memories. Surrounding myself with loved ones, as the gift of family and friends is priceless and better than any present received. Always remember to hug those close to you and be sure to tell them you love them.” - Kristin Salvatoriello, Office Assistant

We are eternally grateful for the support that each of you provide in your own special way. Please know that in whatever form it comes, your support makes a difference in the lives of the many grieving children and families we serve.

You are a great gift to us.


Brittany Sheehan Executive Director

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