BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A Birmingham-based nonprofit is providing a safe space for those celebrating this upcoming holiday season without a loved one for the first time.

Community Grief Support’s “Hope for the Holidays” is a workshop program for those who are facing their first holidays after the death a loved one. The programs will be held during the first three Saturdays in November:

  • Nov. 4: Guiding Light Church in Irondale from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Nov. 11: Southminster Presbyterian Church in Vestavia Hills from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Nov. 18: Virtual workshop from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Catherine Pittman Smith is the administrative director for CGS. She said the program will provide attendees with tips on how to navigate common grief emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression and anger.

“A panel of loss survivors will speak on how to plan ahead for the holiday season, to accept and to know what your limitations are,” Smith said. “If you need to go out of town for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or maybe just trim down the holidays to the essentials of what you need.”

One-on-one counseling and loss-specific support groups for those coping with the death of a spouse or child are also provided by CGS.

“When the casseroles are gone, family and friends have gone on with their daily routines, those who are grieving are wading where they’ve never been before, and the holidays really can exacerbate that,” Smith said. “Any little thing can be a huge thing.”

Smith said hosting these discussions is important to help work through the grieving process and find fellowship with others experiencing similar journeys.

“Grief is not something that you get over. It’s something that you get through,” she said. “And we can help give you the tools for your toolbox — what you didn’t know that you needed.”

Those interested in attending a “Hope for the Holidays” program are encouraged to visit Community Grief Support’s website to sign up.