The holiday season can be hard for a lot of people. Whether it is dealing with grief related to the death of a loved one or to the loss of a relationship after divorce, the holidays are not always a happy time.

First Baptist Church in Van Alstyne recently ended its fall season of the program, “GriefShare: Surviving the Holidays.”

GriefShare is a Bible-based, nondenominational course meant to help those who are left after a death deal with all aspects related to the death. First Baptist also hosts a similar program called DivorceCare.

“Several things happen in the weeks leading up to holidays,” GriefShare facilitator Jack Washington said. “One thing is that people become reminiscent. They begin to remember a lot of the memories that they have related to the person that has passed or is no longer in their life.”

Washington said that people also remember the great memories related to the holidays or the not-so-great memories related to the deceased person and the holidays.

“For me personally, Christmas is bittersweet,” Washington said. “My mother’s birthday is Dec. 25 so the day is sweet because I get to think about the birth of Jesus Christ. But, it is also bitter because I remember my mother too.”

In the weeks leading up to holidays, Washington said that people often began anticipating what they might encounter during the holidays.

“They start thinking about the kinds of feelings that the holidays bring,” he said. “They start thinking about the questions people will ask when they are at parties and family gatherings. They start thinking about who they will see at the family events.”

During the first year after a death or divorce, people also began anticipating the unknowns.

“The first year, there are a lot of uncertainties,” Washington said. “People wonder how they will make it through the holidays without that person. They wonder if the holidays will be enjoyable without that person. They wonder if they even want to make it through the holidays without that person.”

During the second year, Washington said, things can also be really bad for those who are grieving.

“Do I even want to go through this again?” he said. “Then during the third year, they realize that they can go on. They then often begin to realize that they can move on.”

The next GriefShare class at First Baptist Church will be held in January. For more information, call 903-482-6334 or to find a Griefshare class near you, visit