Managing and coping with grief during the holidays

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- For many people, the holidays can be a happy time to be spent with family and friends, but for others, it can be difficult while they cope with grief.

Psychologists say especially if there's bad blood between relatives or friends, or if you're dealing with divorce, death and tragedy.

"That pain is so horrific. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy," said Tammie Goodman who knows about trauma.

On Jan. 28, 2018, from her bedroom window, she witnessed her son, Charleston Goodman's abduction.

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Witnesses told Durham Police they saw several men grab the 26-year-old. Threw him in a silver minivan -- Honda Odyssey -- and took off.

Durham police are investigating Goodman's disappearance as a homicide.

"I love him and I miss him because he was always the life of the party," Goodman said.

Tammie Goodman hopes that someone will tell police what happened.

Until then, her family is spending their second holiday without Charleston, his favorite time of the year.

"My granddaughter told me that all she wants for Christmas is her dad. Can you imagine how that feels? And I can't give that to her. I would give my own life to give her that," Goodman said.

When dealing with loss, psychologists say it's important to acknowledge it and accept the holidays will be different.

Grief may require shifting traditions or creating new ones.

Experts say talk to someone close to you for comfort about what you're feeling and going through.

And plan ahead, the holidays are here for the next several weeks. Professionals say once you understand what triggers your grief, you can better manage it or avoid any pitfalls.

And last, self-care is important. Dr. Robin Gurwitch, a child psychologist at Duke says to do things that make you feel good.

"We need to be kinder to ourselves and recognize that grief is going to be there. And make sure we are connected to people that are a support to us is extremely important," Gurwitch said.

Dr. Gurwitch says there's no time limit on grief and it can affect all of us in different ways.

Psychologists say seek counseling for grief that is more complicated and difficult to manage.

Dr. Gurwitch says it's important for adults to manage grief in front of children and teens because they can pick up on tension or anxiety and model that behavior.
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