'Surviving the Holidays' event shows people how to cope with loss of loved one

Posted at 10:15 PM, Dec 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 07:45:49-05

The loss of a loved one is excruciating and during the holidays it can be even more difficult to cope.

Alice Statler lost her husband to cancer 13 years ago.

"My husband had written cards for me and my kids. He died in October and in December we read what he had wrote to us for Christmas," said Statler. "I still have his stocking and he made the angel for the top of our tree, so every year the angel that he made is on top of the tree."

Dozens of people joined Statler as they piled into Taylor's Valley Baptist Church in Temple on Sunday. They each shared stories of love and loss while learning ways to 'Survive the Holidays'.

"Turning to God with all that pain was the most critical thing for me and that's how I got through," said Statler.

The 'Surviving the Holidays' grief session was led by Gale Lawler, a man who's experienced his share of heartache. He lost his wife of nearly four decades just two years ago.

"The single thing that helped me the most was keeping a lit candle in the room as a memory candle so that I felt my wife's presence and that I could freely talk about her," said Lawler.

Lawler said those grieving should take it slow this holidays season by playing the parties and dinners by ear. They should also try new traditions with friends and family while honoring the old ones they've shared throughout the years.

"It's not a new normal, it's a new chapter in your life," said Lawler.

"You don't move on, you move forward and you move forward with your loved one's memories in your heart," said Statler. "Those sweet memories just keep you going."

Taylor's Valley Baptist Church will host a 13-week Grief Share program starting Jan. 18. The sessions will be on Thursdays at 6 p.m. They are free and open to the public. 

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