Tony O’Daniel had a painful Christmas after his wife passed away of breast cancer at age 34.
O’Daniel, who had three young children at the time, said it was God’s comfort through the community around him that helped him process that pain.
“When you lose a loved one, the holidays are very challenging,” said O’Daniel, now 73. “You think, ‘I don’t want to keep doing Christmas the way I’ve always done it’ or ‘I don’t want to do Christmas at all.’ Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s all tie together, but a season that should be our happiest time of the year is very hard when you’re grieving a loss.”
O’Daniel hopes to help people process their grief during the holidays at the Surviving the Holidays workshop at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus. O’Daniel has helped facilitate the workshop for about 20 years.
The free workshop is Saturday, Oct. 16, from 9 a.m. to noon in ATCR 200.
The workshop will cover topics such as dealing with expectations, strategies for surviving social events, traditions, self-care techniques, ways to honor your loved one and more.
“The workshop is really about preparing people for family time when the family isn’t the same anymore,” said Lisa Schardein, who helps facilitate the Grief Support Group that meets Thursday nights at Southeast Christian Church’s Blankenbaker Campus. “Grief is difficult during the holidays, especially during the first set of holidays without your loved one, because nothing feels the same. The holidays are tough. People are laughing and having fun, but you don’t feel like that.”
The workshop will include question and answer time. Coffee, doughnuts and refreshments will be available.
Registration for the event is not required, but those planning to attend are asked to email O’Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org or text him at (502) 507-3800.