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‘Holidays trigger other things:’ clinical social worker offering advice on grieving

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Little Rock, Arkansas – During the holidays, lots of people go present shopping, prepare meals, and host family gatherings. Kimberly Key-Bell, a licensed clinical social worker, said that many are also grieving at this time of year.

One of Bell’s suggestions for coping with loss is to put less emphasis on what’s challenging and more emphasis on what is feasible.

“The holidays themselves typically are not a trigger, but the holidays trigger other things,” Bell said. “They trigger sadness, grief that had been lying dormant all year.”

If the holiday season is difficult for you, Bell advised you to avoid loneliness, start your own ritual, and make new acquaintances.

“There are groups for everything on social media, find a positive outlet, connect with co-workers, there’s several different things that we can do that will fulfill us during this time if it’s difficult for you,” she said.

This is the first Thanksgiving without Shenita Tucker’s youngest and only child, Kenneth West, Jr., also known as KJ. He was discovered dead from gunshot wounds at Baptist Health in a double homicide last December.

“I don’t think any of us gonna ever get through grieving because we have to grieve everyday for each other’s kids,” Tucker said.

The fact that KJ never got to see his kid Kazmeir, in Tucker’s opinion, is the most difficult aspect. She claimed KJ passed away a week prior to Kazmeir’s birth.

“Growing up without his father, going through his milestones, seeing Kaz smile just like his father,” she said.

Tucker stated that they would continue to pay tribute to KJ by preparing his favorite dish for Thanksgiving and paying a visit to his grave. She claimed that in order to carry on KJ’s legacy, she must continue to live her life and support the upbringing of her granddaughter. Tucker asserted that KJ would have preferred that for his mother.

“When they were alive we did things to please our family and our kid so you still do the same because I know if I don’t go on and live, that’s not what I want his memory to be,” Tucker said.

36 percent of the 2,000 US individuals who took part in the survey in 2021 said they didn’t want to enjoy the holidays due to loss or grief.

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