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Hospice's tree decoration helps ease pain for newly bereaved families

While most embrace the holidays with glee and giddiness, there are those who are holding back tears as they muddle through the season because someone they love has died.
"The holidays are hard for people who've experienced a death because there are reminders everywhere that the loved one is no longer there," said George Bonanno, author of "The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss".
"We react to the anniversary of events that we would have spent with someone," said Bonanno, chairman of the department of counseling and clinical psychology at Columbia University's Teachers College.
"Data on anniversary reactions show they are more frequent the first few years after someone has died," Bonanno said. "Over a period of five to 10 years they may not be so pronounced."
Bonanno said he typically doesn't dispense advice to people who are bereaved. Instead he just tells them to do whatever feels comfortable, even if that means to laugh.
"Humor is a wonderful thing, and if that's something you experienced with your loved one, it's OK to laugh and to remember the funny times together," he said. "There's genuine enjoyment in remembering people that way, and it's a wonderful part of life."
The article "Hospice's tree decoration helps ease pain for newly bereaved families" was published on December 13th, 2009 in the "Commercial Appeal" website.
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