Remembering your loved ones during the holidays

According to, holidays mark the passage of time in our lives. They are part of the milestones we share, and they generally represent time spent with family. But since holidays are for being with those we love the most, how on earth can anyone be expected to cope with them when a loved one has died?

This is the hardest part of grieving for many people, when we miss our loved ones even more than usual. How can we celebrate togetherness when there is none? When you lose someone special, your world lacks its celebratory qualities. Holidays magnify that loss. The sadness deepens, and the loneliness can feel isolating. The need for support may be the greatest during the holidays.

Pretending you don’t hurt and/or it isn’t a harder time of the year is just not the truth for you. But you can – and will – get through the holidays. Rather than avoiding the feelings of grief, lean into them. It is not the grief you want to avoid; it is the pain. No one can take that pain away, but grief is not just pain; grief is love.

Let’s face it. For some, the holidays aren’t jolly or merry. Hospice of Anchorage understands that. We offer two ways to help you embrace the memory of your loved ones during the holiday season.

Remembrance Tree

A long-running tradition, the Remembrance Tree campaign runs from Thanksgiving through Christmas. It provides people an opportunity to reflect on those who have gone before them, while remembering the special nuances their loved ones brought to the holidays. Maybe it was mom’s red and green gelatin salad, or the way Uncle Nick dressed up as Santa Claus all those years. By dedicating an ornament on Hospice of Anchorage’s Remembrance Tree, you not only honor the memory of your loved ones but also shine a caring light into the lives of the dying and grieving families in our community.

Your ornament on the tree represents a unique history, a wealth of memories, and a host of love and enthusiasm for dreams shared. Hospice of Anchorage hopes that joining your loved one’s names with the others on our tree inspires you, encourages you, and allows you to reflect upon all the lights in our lives that shine forever.

Ways to light up a life this season

Make a donation on our website, and we’ll respectfully add your loved one’s name to an ornament and hang it on our tree.

Visit Bailey’s Furniture, 350 W. International Airport Blvd., Anchorage. Bailey’s is hosting a special Remembrance Tree for Hospice of Anchorage.

‘Navigating the Holidays’ kit and DVD

Have you experienced a recent loss? Navigating the Holidays may be of help. We have recorded a DVD program (also available to stream online) designed to help guide and support you through what could be a difficult time of adjustment after having lost a loved one. The Alaska Community Foundation’s generous grant has also allowed us to partner with several local businesses to put together a kit to go along with the program. This kit will include some special touches and gifts to help you in the grieving process.

The Navigating the Holidays Kits will be available to anyone in the community for pickup at Hospice of Anchorage. Please give us a call ahead of time at 907-561-5322 and we will put a box with your name on it at our curbside pickup spot for best practice during COVID-19.

Amy Tribbett is the Hospice of Anchorage executive director.