Grieving loss of loved one seems more pronounced this time of year


Courtesy photo: Sandy Linster

(from left) Lonna Mohr, Cliff Linster and Jim Mohr gathered for a celebration years ago. Lonna Mohr passed away Jan. 31, 2019. 

We often wish each other Happy Holidays, but sometimes, those happy holidays aren’t so happy for the students and staff who have lost a loved one. 

From personal experience, it’s so hard seeing a grandparent, maybe an aunt, uncle, a pet etc. pass away. People understand that it’s OK to be sad, especially after a loss. 

Coming up with ways to cope with a loss may not always be easy, so here are a few ways to look at the brighter side of things, especially this time of year.

PHS Counselor Mr. Trevor Lee said he’s had some students come to his office over the years and he offered some advice to those grieving. 

“Brainstorm the positive activities that had happened when that individual person, or animal was alive,” Mr. Lee said. “It’s OK to feel sad and it’s OK to miss whoever you lost. There needs to be a time to acknowledge the feelings you’re feeling.”

Usually around the holidays, students have finals and they are experiencing major stress. But to experience missing someone, or even worse losing someone around the same time, is awful. 

Mr. Lee lost his grandmother last year. He explained that the loss had a huge impact on his family and that it is normal to grieve for some time.

I lost my grandma last year, and even though it wasn’t around Christmas time, it’s still something I think about whenever we come home for the holidays.”

— Mr. Trevor Lee, PHS Counselor

“I grew up going to my grandma’s house every year and we always lived 14 hours away but we always made the trip,” Mr. Lee said. “Every Christmas we would go and visit.

“As I got older and was married we never really continued the usual tradition. I lost my grandma last year, and even though it wasn’t around Christmas time, it’s still something I think about whenever we come home for the holidays.” 

As Mr. Lee said, it is entirely understandable to be sad and grieve, rather than bottle up your emotions and let yourself explode in the end.

Similar to Mr. Lee, Mrs. Kaitlin Loeffen, PHS science teacher and Lady Panther soccer head coach, also lost a grandparent just a few weeks ago and let students know how she coped with her loss. 

“I talk with my husband,” Mrs. Loeffen said. “My husband shared a love for my grandpa. I will just let [my husband] know that ‘today was a hard day and that this or that reminded me of grandpa’. I guess really talking about it helped.”

As Mrs. Loeffen said, talking to someone who you can trust really is a lifesaver, and sometimes you just have to vent about what is going on. 

Mr. Joel Hayano, who is the robotics, computer science and math teacher at PHS, also lost his mother around October and added that holiday traditions wouldn’t be as in years past. 

“It’s going to be a lot different because my parents had huge families,” Mr. Hayano said. “We used to have 40 or 50 people and New Year’s is when we all gathered together and celebrated. We won’t be traveling to my mom’s house this year obviously but we will still buy her gifts I assume.” 

Times of grieving can be unbearable. Some ideas to help cope with your loss would be to think about the good times that you had with the particular loved one and understand that it is entirely okay to be sad. 

Bottling up your emotions leaves a hole in your heart, can break relationships, and makes you think about the missing one a lot more. Taking these suggestions can help you with your missing piece in your heart and you may learn a thing or two. 


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