It's the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas lights everywhere, people exchanging gifts and being surrounded by loved ones. But, while everyone is excited for the holiday season, there are many who are hurting because they have loss a loved one.
"The holidays trigger memories," said Janice Ronco, the patient care and bereavement volunteer at Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County. "Memories of a time that you had that person, that loved one with you during that season to share the joy and all the wonderful things that happen during the holiday season."
While the first year is always the hardest, officials say that time doesn't necessarily heal all wounds. That was the case for Dolly Phillips, a widow and mother of four children.
"I cried a lot," said Phillips. "The kids hugged a lot. We celebrated everything, just the same because I think you need to, as much as possible keep things the same. But they knew I was going to cry."
Her husband Rick died back in October of 2005, right before Halloween on one of her kid's birthday. She says, it wasn't easy celebrating the next few holidays, but she knew she had to push through it for her children.
"Tears heal, they really do," said Phillips. "If you bottle it up, you may as well prepare because you are going to face it. It's either going to smack you upside the head and you're going to lose it somewhere or you can just face it head on and say, 'you know, this is part of grief. So, I may as well let myself go through the process because it's going to happen.'"
"Even though it's difficult,I encourage people to realize it's part of getting well," said Dr. David Prescott, a psychologist at Acadia Hospital. "We inherently heal from grief in most cases, but you got to go through it."
The journey may seem long and you might feel alone. Those facing grief are encouraged to seek help from people who will listen and not judge you.
"Active coping. Trying to do something is almost always better than doing nothing.
"There's no fixing this," said Ronco. "It just takes time for people to move on where the memories start bringing back more smiles than tears."
Those who know somebody who is grieving, officials suggest being a listening ear and be specific when asking if they need anything. They say talking about it helps in the healing process.
"You don't lose the memory but you change the nature of the emotion or the intensity of the emotion associated with it, that's the goal," said Prescott.
"It was very important for me that I talked about Rick," said Phillips. "I've kept him a part of this family because he helped create this family."
It's during these hard times that building a strong support system could help an individual during the grieving process.
"You grieve somebody the way you love them and to not have loved, is to not live," said Ronco.
The Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County is holding a special program on December 16th for grieving people. It starts at 8:30 a.m., and will run until 1:30 p.m.
It will be held at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church in Ellsworth. This will be a time for families to come together to remember and honor loved ones who've passed away.