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The most difficult time of the year

For those grieving, the holidays can be lonely, overwhelming

November 29, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Whether it be a Christmas card still addressed to a lost loved one or memories of Christmases past, the holidays can be an overwhelming, isolating and lonely time for those grieving over a loved one's death.

To help people during this difficult time, Portage Health is adding a weekly bereavement support group meeting every Thursday from Dec. 6 to Jan. 3. The group will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Kangas Caf in the Jutila Center in Hancock, and will offer a safe and welcoming environment for all who are grieving.

"The holidays are centered around moments packed with memories ... and everything is family-focused," said Portage Health Hospice social worker Carol Olsen. "It can create a really difficult time."

The overriding goal of the group is to let people know they are not alone in their grief, and don't have to shut themselves away for the holiday season.

"Our goal is to really help people not feel so isolated and alone in their grief," Olsen said. "There is a place where they can come and be supported. There's no expectations on them that they have to talk; they can just come and be a part of the group."

Olsen will be running the meetings along with Portage Health hospice volunteer and bereavement coordinator Marianne Bergherfer.

"Marianne and I will be facilitating it," Olsen said. "We will be providing helpful information so that it's a bit educational as well."

The group meetings will be held in a side room off of Kangas Caf. Coffee will be provided and if people want more sustenance, they can bring food over from the caf. No RSVP is necessary, the meetings are free and people do not have to attend every meeting.

"We just want to give people some ideas on how to heal and get through the holidays," Olsen said.

For more information, including a full schedule, visit or call 483-1160 and ask for Olsen or Bergherfer.



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