November, 2015
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Dear Donor Families,

As the year draws to a close, the rhythm of the world seems to go at a hectic pace.  Schedules are busy and many travel during this time of year.  There are a few announcements I would like to share with you. 
  • For those who may follow NASCAR:  Joey Gase Racing has been selected as Comcast Community Leader for 2015 for his support of organ donation awareness!  Joey's mother was an organ donor and her son races the Donate Life America car to spread the mission of hope through organ and tissue donation.  Many of our donor families have had the opportunity to meet him at various races and we are so grateful for his efforts and dedication.  Please take a moment to visit the Joey Gase Racing Facebook page to learn more and view his most recent inspiring video.
  • The Tri-state Transplant Support Group will meet on December 3rd at 6pm at the Fourth Avenue Methodist Church in Huntington, WV.
  • The 4th quarter Donor Family Council meeting will be held at Sage Café in Frankfort on December 12th at noon. Council members please RSVP with Gretchen Boje by the 10th.
No matter where you may be during the remaining weeks of the year, may you carve out some time to be still, rest, reflect and recharge.  Perhaps you are doing so by taking a moment to read this month's Grief Tips.  Should you ever have words to share from your own journey or specific writings and poems that have been helpful, please contact me and I will be happy to use in future editions.  I hope you will find meaning in this month's edition of the Grief Tips Newsletter.   
Be good to yourself & kind to others,
Gretchen Boje
Family Aftercare Coordinator
Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates
10160 Linn Station Rd.
Louisville, KY 40223
Toll free:  1-800-525-3456
Phone: (502) 379-6923 

Healing, Even During the Holidays
The arrival of the holiday season is often stressful for many people.  It may be especially difficult for those who are grieving for numerous reasons.  Holidays are a time of tradition, ritual and relationship.  Following the death of a loved one, this time of year may feel like a merry-go-round that won't stop.

I highly recommend the book, Healing Your Holiday Grief by Dr. Alan Wolfelt.  His book is a practical and helpful tool to equip those who are mourning a loved one during this time of the year.  He shares that it is possible to find continual meaning in the holidays as well as in life and that one can grieve and also celebrate.  The following excerpt from his book begins to explain how this is possible.

"Setting your intention to mourn and heal during the holidays and beyond is one important way to move forward in your grief journey.  Harnessing the power of ritual is another.  

We create holiday rituals because everyday activities and normal conversation cannot capture our most profound thoughts and feelings.  Rituals give them voice and shape.  So, we decorate our Christmas trees, light our menorahs, give gifts, hold hands and say prayers.  What words could we possibly utter that would capture so well our feelings at these moments?  

During your time of grief, the very rituals of the holidays can help you survive them.  Try participating in some of your normal holiday traditions but with focus on your grief.  When you light candles in your home, do it in honor of the person who died.  When you sing holiday songs, allow yourself to embrace any grief feelings the music stirs within you.  Attending services at your place of worship, praying and meditating are other meaningful ways to tap into the healing power of ritual this holiday season. 

You might also create a special holiday ceremony or private ritual in memory of the person who died.

The holidays are ritualistic and ritual can help you survive (and heal) right now.  Remember this when you are considering whether or not to participate in your next holiday tradition. 

When your grief overwhelms you this holiday season, try focusing on the now.  Your grief wants you to live in the past through memories of the precious person who died.  Remembering is indeed important, and your memories will always be a part of your life. 

Your grief will also project you into the future at times.  You will worry about what the coming months and years hold for you.  Looking ahead is also a normal and natural part of grief. 

But when remembering and projecting exhaust you-and they will-return yourself to the present moment. 

Concentrate on what is going on around you right now.  Hear the sounds and see the lights.  If you are in the company of a friend or beloved family member, be present to that person.  Listen to her and notice the amazing reality of her being. 

Try drawing on the power of now to find continued meaning in your holidays and in your life."

Although you may feel completely alone as you journey through the path of grief and loss, please know that there are many of us who are experiencing loss too.  You are not alone and reach out to those who walking along beside you. 

Next month we will continue to further explore Dr. Wolfelt's book, Healing Your Holiday Grief.  Until next time, may you find peace, rest and comfort in your memories of the past, present and hope for your future.


Copyright © 2015 Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates, All rights reserved.

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