Rylee Fitzgerald reports.

RICHLAND, Wash. — The holidays can be full of joy for some; but for others, for people who might be experiencing loss or grief this winter, it can be a more difficult time. Heartlinks is hosting four Grief and the Holidays workshops this week.

The first one happened Tuesday afternoon in Richland. Staff and counselors help people navigate the holidays and other special times of the year.

The first holiday without a loved one may not feel the same.

“The holidays bring out so many traditions for people and things that they’ve done every year for years and years and years, and all of a sudden that person’s gone and how do they do that without that person,” said Belinda Bell, a grief services supervisor with Heartlinks.

Heartlinks is hoping to help those experiencing loss this season. During these special times of the year, loss can feel amplified.

“There’s really no way to make it normal, especially the first ones. Grieving takes just a huge amount of energy,” said Bell.

Participants come out of the workshops with tools and validation in their feelings and emotions, because the holiday season might not feel the same as it used to.

“I tell people to be super selfish right now. If you want to put it that way. Just be selfish. Take care of yourself,” said Bell. “You have to do it on your terms. Because you can’t do it on anybody else’s terms.”

In these groups, you’re surrounded by people who may be in the same boat as you; those who have lost parents, grandparents, children, friends or family.

“I think it takes a lot of guts to come out and do a group like this but it’s worth it in the long run. And I learned something and it touches my heart every time I get a chance to do it as well,” said Bell.

An RSVP is not required, and these workshops are free to the public. If you can’t make it to the events this week, Heartlinks also does monthly grief support groups around the region. Find information and scheduling for all grief events here.

Grief and the Holidays Workshops Schedule

Tuesday, Dec. 6

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Shalom United Church of Christ
  • 505 McMurray Street, Richland, WA

Wednesday, Dec. 7

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
  • 5 South Naches Ave, Yakima

Thursday, Dec. 8

  • 1 to 2:30 p.m.
  • Prosser Community Center
  • 1231 Dudley Ave., Prosser

Friday, Dec. 9

  • 12:30 to 2 p.m.
  • Sunnyside Senior Citizen Center
  • 1400 Federal Way, Sunnyside

READ: Six mind-body tips for less holiday stress