Compassion for Those Left Behind: A Holiday Wish For Those Who Are Grieving

Stan Goldberg, PhD

I received a wonderful LinkedIn invitation to connect this morning from the CEO of After A LossIt is a Canadian service organization I wish exists here in the States–especially for those who are grieving during the holidays. 

The organization offers a range of customized, practical and home-based support services to bereaved families in the hours and days following the death of a loved one. They try to “anticipate people’s needs and respond to them in a caring, supportive way that respects their own situation. After A Loss provides a helping hand at a hurting time.” 

Grief and the Holidays

Why am I writing about a topic involving death and grief during a period associated with joy? Because as so many difficult events affecting our lives, we tend to run away from sharp ones

We would like to think painful memories can be bracketed off, or as so many people advise, wait until time reduces their impact. Wonderful thoughts but it doesn’t quite work that way. 

My mother died on Christmas day more than twenty years ago. Despite having what I consider to be an accepting view of the role of death in life, the images of my last day with her flash before me in December as if it’s yesterday. Would it made a difference if the services of After A Loss were available to me? I don’t know. I think it would make a difference to people I counseled whose friends and loved ones died. 

How We Can Change Future Memories

We often don’t acknowledge what we do in the present affects us in the future. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if carrying, knowledgeable people are present after a loss to provide support to those who need it? Not as an ancillary services as it is in many hospices, but a stand-alone dedicated service.

Memories might be created that can get people through times of the year when losses are accentuated. I’d loved to hear from organizations who provide similar services in the States who wish to be listed as a resource on my website.

For those whose painful memories are accentuated this week, try to remember how your loved one or friend contributed to your life. Have a positive memory holiday.

Preventing Senior Moments, by Stan Goldberg

Offers practical and achievable prevention strategies for senior moments.


  1. Elizabeth Miller

    Dear Stan,

    Clicking on “After a Loss” did not bring up their website, but a search to many other organizations. Is it possible to send me a link to After a Loss? Thank you so much for all you do with your website and articles.

    Many thanks,

    Elizabeth Miller



  1. Shared via Stan Goldberg – Compassion for those left behind: a Christmas wish for grieving | Loss, Grief, Transitions and Relationship Support - […] Compassion for those left behind: a Christmas wish for grieving. […]

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