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Remembering Loved Ones This Holiday

Ways to Remember Your Loved Ones This Holiday Season

Remembrance Trees

Hospice of Washington County(HWC)’s Bereavement Staff invite you to honor and memorialize your loved one this holiday season through our Remembrance Trees. You may submit your loved ones name by emailing, and a staff member will write the name of your loved one on an ornament that will be placed on our Remembrance Trees at our Administrative Office or Doey’s House through the month of December.

Remembrance Tree Informational Video


Virtual Winter 2020 Community Service of Remembrance

HWC and Franklin Hospice partnered with Antietam Broadband to record a Virtual Winter 2020 Community Service of Remembrance for those in our community who have lost loved ones between September and November. This virtual service will celebrate and reflection on those who have passed, as we go into this holiday season. We invite you to view the service on Washington County Living Television (WCL-TV) Ch. 6 & 806 (HD) on Saturday, Dec. 19 and Sunday, Dec. 6 p.m., as well as Monday, Dec. 21 and Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 10 a.m. and 6p.m. You can also find this on our website and YouTube channel and on the WCL-tv ON-The -GO app.

View the Remembrance Service here


Lights for Love Memorial Drive

HWC held the Third Annual Doey’s House Lights For Love event with a memorial drive on Sunday, December 6, 2020. Individuals honored and remembered loved ones through luminaries placed around Doey’s House and participated in a memorial drive in their loved ones’ honor. The funds raised through this event supported HWC’s Benevolence Program.

A virtual reading of the names was recorded for those who purchased a luminary in honor and memory of a loved one. View the reading of the names here.

Individuals can also leave a legacy by having the name of a loved one permanently placed at Doey’s House, Washington County’s only hospice house. There are many opportunities including personalized stone pavers and other naming rights. Pavers require a $250 donation and there are a number of naming opportunities at a variety of levels at Doey’s House.

This event was sponsored by First Energy Foundation and Middletown Valley Bank. 


Grief During the Holidays

Although many people consider the holidays, “the most wonderful time of the year,” it can actually be one of the toughest times of the year for those who are struggling with grief and loss. People often begin to experience immense sorrow, feelings of anger, depression, loneliness and sadness right around Thanksgiving and continuing into the new year. While others may be enjoying the sights and sounds of the holidays; the music, lights, holiday parties and festive decorations that are meant to bring us joy, all of those things may also serve as painful reminders of our loss. Our loved one is not with us physically, so it can be difficult to feel connected to those around us, and to the purpose of the holiday season.

If you’re wondering how to get through the holidays this year without your loved one, here are some things to think about that might be helpful:

  1. Remember that grief is a part of the healing process. Some people may be resistant to actually sitting with the feelings they’re feeling, and experiencing the full range of emotions that accompany grief and loss. But, giving yourself permission to feel the loss, is part of the healing. Oftentimes people will try to escape, avoid or medicate feelings by over-indulging in food, drinking too much alcohol, or by just being too busy, instead of giving themselves the freedom to acknowledge and sit with their experience. Attempting to pretend the holidays don’t exist or numbing the pain of loss simply prolongs the anguish. Allowing yourself to experience your feelings is a healthy step toward healing from loss.
  2. Be patient with yourself. Realize that it’s not going to be easy, and do only those things that are special, meaningful or important to you. It’s okay to set healthy boundaries and not feel like you have to agree to every request; be willing to say no if that’s what you need. Eliminate the unnecessary, and set appropriate limits on what you do and what you spend. Do not over commit yourself. 
  3. Make a plan. Realize that this is going to be a new holiday - very different than holidays of the past. Think about changing some traditions or starting new ones.
  4. Build in times to relax over the holidays; take time to just breathe, remember and reflect.
  5. Take the initiative and make your own plans if you do not want to be alone over the holidays. Invite a neighbor to join you, throw your own party, or sit quietly with someone you feel safe and vulnerable with during those difficult days. Do something you truly enjoy-don’t do things just out of obligation or to please someone else.
  6. Some of the worst holiday stress arrives post-season. Plan something pleasant in January and February to help diminish the letdown.
  7. If stress, anxiety, depression, or loneliness become overwhelming, it may be helpful to consult a mental health professional. It’s okay to ask for help.
  8. Think ahead about a response you might give to someone who says, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year.”
  9. Be patient with those who are unaware of the death. Think of a way to let them know in advance.
  10. Find a way to honor your memories. Consider creating a special way to remember and memorialize the person you’ve lost. Whether you decide to place a special ornament on your tree, light a candle every night, or fix your loved one’s favorite food, honoring your loved one is a tangible reminder that although the person we love is gone, the love never dies.