MANHATTAN, Kan., Dec. 25 (UPI) -- Losing a loved one can be especially difficult during the holidays but a U.S. counselor says it is possible to cope by being "flexible."
Stephanie Wick, a family therapist and Kansas State University instructor in human services, describes the holiday after losing a loved one as a giant void.
"It's a reminder that all these other families are celebrating this time together and enjoying their time together, but we've lost this person," Wick says in a statement.
Nancy Kiel, bereavement coordinator at Loyola University Health System, Chicago, says the holiday season that it can be an emotional roller coaster for one who has suffered a loss.
"Many people wish they could just fast forward through the holidays, but getting through the season is possible if you give yourself permission to be flexible," Kiel says.
Kiel and Wick both advise if it is painful to continue an old tradition, it is best to create a new one.
"Light a special candle or at dinner have everyone share a favorite memory or all can take part in a loved one's favorite holiday activity." says Kiel. "Do something that would make your loved one smile."
"The first holiday is the hardest," says Wick. "For many people it's a process of surviving, just getting through one holiday at a time."
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