“Hope for the Holidays”

Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2011

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

While cards and gift wrapping begin to appear in stores with “Happy Holidays” written all over them, it is not always welcoming to those of us who have lost a loved one in the past year.

It is no secret that special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day are often painful to celebrate for people in grief and, at best, they are a difficult challenge.

That is why Community Grief Support Service (CGSS) has found a niche in helping people realize the importance of facing the holidays and not allowing the happiness to go out of them forever.  CGSS is offering an annual program called “Hope for the Holidays,” which is an inspirational seminar for people who have lost loved ones in the past year or continue to experience grief over the death of someone prior to that.

Hope for the Holidays is a free program that will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19 in the Fellowship Hall of Trinity United Methodist Church in Homewood.

It will begin at 9 a.m. with a complimentary light breakfast buffet.

The program will last until noon.

Each person attending is encouraged to bring a small photo of their loved one for a remembrance ceremony.

The keynote speaker for the program will be Licensed Professional Counselor Steve Sweatt, who also serves as clinical and agency director at Community Grief Support Service.

Sweatt (Contributed)

He is a highly sought after speaker on the issue of grief and has led many such seminars teaching people in grief practical ways to prepare for and cope with the holidays.

While Thanksgiving through the New Year is the obvious peak of depression for people who have lost a loved one, there are so many other days that must be realized and prepared for as well – anniversaries, birthdays and more.

Steve Sweatt has the experience necessary to address all aspects of grief.

He is an adjunct professor of counseling at Samford University and was awarded the Outstanding Counseling Alum of the Year from the University of Montevallo this year.

Hope for the Holidays is provided as a community service, and there is no charge to attend. However, seating is limited.

You can register by calling 870-8667 or email ccommunitygriefsu@bellsouth.net today.

For more information on Hope for the Holidays or the Community Grief Support Service and the other programs they offer, please visit Communitygriefsupport.org.


Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at bethchapman@bellsouth.net.