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FUNERAL DIRECTOR SUGGESTS FOUR-STEP PROCESS FOR COPING WITH GRIEF AROUND THE HOLIDAYS

 UNION LAKE, Mich., Nov. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays can be a particularly stressful time for people who have suffered the death of a close relative or friend.
 The death could have happened as recently as this year or well in the past. What is relevant, is that there is something ... someone ... missing from the Thanksgiving table. There is a need for making changes in the simplest of patterns and rituals ... who cuts the turkey, who cooks the dinner, at whose house does the family gather.
 A local funeral director suggests that with some pre-thought, the holiday season can have moments of joy and merriment, even for a person who is going through the mourning process.
 "Pretending that life goes on as usual, especially around the holidays, does not change the reality of the death," said David A. Black, whose Elton Black & Son Funeral Home in Union Lake offers a full- time, year-round bereavement support program called HOPE -- Helping Ourselves and Other People Emotionally.
 "Grieving is healthy and it is a process everyone must go through. In the past, a person felt a need to adhere to a proper behavior-style -- which included not being able to talk about their grief and not attending any party functions out of respect for the dead. In today's world, people are encouraged to grieve publicly in positive ways," he said.
 "We serve hundreds of families every year and suggest these four steps to planning for the holidays.
 "First, acknowledge your grief. Showing grief doesn't make you a weak person. Grief is a normal and natural process that starts with shock and disbelief and eventually works its way to dealing with the loss. This process takes different amounts of time for different people.
 "Secondly, recognize that the holidays will encompass some moments of sorrow. But more importantly, know it is all right to have moments of joy.
 "Next, it is perfectly fine to get on with your life -- re-create rituals and traditions to make them meaningful for the new situation.
 "And, finally, find a way to include the person who has died in the celebration," said Black. "During the Thanksgiving holiday -- this could be something as simple as making a toast to honor the loved one at dinner, decorating the loved one's grave with a simple rose, or lighting a special tribute candle in your home."
 Elton Black & Son Funeral Home, at 1233 Union Lake Road, has served the Union Lake area for nearly 30 years. It offers an extensive library, consisting of 150 volumes on grief and bereavement and 250 volumes on related subjects such as co-dependency. Black, a graduate of Wayne State University, has spoken before a number of local organizations about death, dying and other funeral issues.
 -0- 11/22/93
 /CONTACT: Sue Tumanis or Lisa Morris of Hermanoff & Associates, 313-851-3993, for Elton Black & Son Funeral Home/


CO: Elton Black & Son Funeral Home ST: Michigan IN: SU:

KE-DS -- DE023 -- 6945 11/22/93 16:16 EST
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Date:Nov 22, 1993
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