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The summer holiday season is just around the corner.
For most people this is a joyous time, traditionally sharing gifts with loved ones and sharing happy times with families – and eating too much!
However, for some the holiday season can be daunting.
Each year there are many people who face the holidays for the first time since experiencing the loss of a loved one.
Regardless of age, grief can come to people in many forms and often the most difficult is the loss of a loved one.
One support network available for people in the Greater Geelong region is Tuckers Funeral and Bereavement Service.
Since the late 1970s Tuckers has been offering additional care to the families it serves through its Bereavement Care Program.
“We are passionate about caring for our community and that extends beyond the funeral service.
“Not everyone needs additional support but it is something that can be requested by families as needed,” said Karen Thirlwell of Tuckers.
“We consider it a vital part of our service and care provided to our families.”
Grief can be a confusing experience and grieving people are often misunderstood because their world has been literally turned upside down.
It can show itself in many different emotions and behaviours and is experienced differently by each person.

Tips for coping with grief during the Christmas season.
1. Acknowledge that the coming holiday season will be different, perhaps even challenging;
2. Make plans, but keep them flexible;
3. Discuss plans with other family members in advance;
4. Decide which traditions the family wants to keep or those that should be changed;
5. Accept that everyone grieves differently, even within the same family;
6. Ask for help with daunting tasks;
7. Prioritise commitments and allow time for self-care;
8. Acknowledge the passed loved one in some way. For example light a candle, hang a special decoration or raise a toast;
9. Allow time to grieve but also to experience times of pleasure and joy;
10. Monitor food and alcohol intake, it can be easy to use these for self-comfort;
11. Donate a gift or some time to a charity – honouring the memory of the loved one;
12. Trust instincts to know what will be helpful to deal with the loss.

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