The journey of grief during the holidays

Annette Durcholz (left), Mavery Bridgewaters (middle), & Pam Hite (right) share the stories of their loved ones. (WTHI Photo, Tony Kassissieh)
Annette Durcholz (left), Mavery Bridgewaters (middle), & Pam Hite (right) share the stories of their loved ones. (WTHI Photo, Tony Kassissieh)

CLAY COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Grief is a difficult journey to go through, and it’s something everyone experiences differently.

But no matter if it’s your first, fifth, or fifteenth year missing a loved one, the holiday season can be especially difficult to get through.

Three local women, all of them mothers, stepped out in strength to share their perspectives.

As Mavery Bridgewaters, Annette Durcholz, and Pam Hite mention, grieving is a journey with highs and lows.

Dr. Jennifer Hutchens with the Hamilton Center says every scenario is different.

She says whether you are inside the situation or seeing it from the outside, be flexible.

The doctor shares there is no right or wrong when it comes to grieving.

Hutchens says everyone will have their own methods, timing, and emotions to sort through.

One thing the doctor recommends doing is embracing your feelings.

She says, “Acceptance of whatever you’re feeling is vital to getting through the holidays. It is okay to recognize that they’re not here, and that you’re struggling with that. It’s okay to talk about the fact that they’re not here and you’re struggling with that.”

Hutchens says it’s a goal of hers to promote “mental wellness.”

She says mental wellness is something everyone can benefit from and strive for.

Because of that, the doctor says there is no shame in asking for help.

On that same token, Bridgewaters, Durcholz, and Hite say to not be afraid to ask a loved one if they’re okay. They even encourage it, and say sending a simple text message to say you’re “Thinking of them” can go a long way.

There are several resources in the Wabash Valley region for those who are grieving.

They’ve been compiled by French Funeral Home and can be found here.

If you start the process of “talking things out” with a loved one and don’t feel well-equipped enough to help, reach out to a professional.

You can contact the Hamilton Center at: (800) 742-0787 or visit their location at 620 8th Avenue in Terre Haute in-person.

If the situation or need arises, you can also reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: (800) 273-8255. NSPL also has an instant messaging feature that can be found here.