Change is inevitable and can be for the good or the bad. It can be the beginning of something or the end. Sometimes it means the loss of a loved one.

When you are missing a person or pet that you have loved, the holidays can be particularly difficult. Other people’s joy can be hard to join when you are feeling so sad. Even when you want to be part of the celebration, it can be hard.

Ryan Funeral Home in Ruckersville is holding its Annual Candlelight Holiday Remembrance Service on Tuesday, Dec. 17 to give those who are feeling sadness during the Christmas season a peaceful, welcoming place to remember their loved ones.

The service starts at 6:30 p.m. in the chapel of Ryan Funeral Home, 12819 Spotswood Trail, Ruckersville. The venue is handicapped accessible. This is a time to pay respect to those who won’t be a physical part of this year’s celebration. All loss is honored—from friends and family to furry family to special sadness.

Pastor Greg Payne will talk about this special season and the Legend of the Cardinal. Guests will be able to pick an associated cardinal ornament from Ryan’s Christmas tree to take home for remembrance. Ivy Powers and Scotty Batten will perform uplifting songs. After the service, refreshments will be available. Guests are invited to join in fellowship.

Loss affects each person in a unique way and each person’s response to loss is just as individual. Grief takes many forms and can present itself many times but living through a holiday period can be particularly difficult. Remember that there are many people and groups available to help in times of loss. Look to those among friends and family who can offer support and, if need be, seek help from one of the many organizations that deal with loss and grief.

Those wanting to help a person dealing with grief during the holidays may find it difficult to know the right thing to say or do. Be supportive of the ways the grieving person may want to deal with the holiday season. There is no right way only the way that is right for them at this time. While some may want to stay with tradition, others may not. Doing something new, even rearranging family seating order or changing the time or place of the celebration, may lessen the sense of absence of the loved one. Offer help with holiday tasks such as cleaning, decorating, cooking, shopping or even doing holiday cards and gift wrapping. These can be overwhelming even in the best of times.

Invite the person to share the holidays with you. It could be a celebration at home, a religious service or volunteering. Donate a gift in the name of the loved one who has passed. This can be one way of sharing the memory of the person. Sharing is important. If you are also grieving, share your feelings but not to the point that you do not allow the other person to express theirs.

Acknowledging grief in a supportive environment can often ease the burden of sadness. Taking time to share the memory of your loved one can bring you comfort.

Please be respectful of those who are grieving at this time of year.

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