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undefinedThe holidays bring joy, togetherness, hope, giving, laughter and more to people around the world. It’s a time of family and friends, which also makes it a difficult time of the year to deal with losing a loved one. No matter what family member you’ve lost or when you lost them, the holidays tend to stir up emotions of grief and loss.

Bruce Conley, founder of Conley Outreach Community Services, was passionate about helping grieving families, leading him to create The Griever’s Holiday Bill of Rights, one of many resources to help grieving families through the holidays.

You have a right to say “time out.”

Any time you need to, take a “time out” to let up, blow off a little steam, step away from the holidays, have a quiet moment and start over.

You have a right to tell it like it is.

When people ask, “How are you?” you have the right to tell them how you really feel, not just what they want to hear.

You have the right to some “bah humbug” days.

You don’t have to be jolly and upbeat all of the time.

You have the right to do things differently.

There is no law that says you must always do the holidays the same way. You can do ten cards instead of hundreds, or no cards at all! You can open presents at someone else’s house. You can eat pizza instead of turkey!

You have the right to be where you want to be.

Be at home or with relatives. Be in any city or state of your choice.

You have the right to have some fun.

When you have a day that isn’t so bad and you feel like doing something fun, then do it. Don’t be afraid of what someone else will say if they see you laughing and having a good time. Laughter is just as important as tears.

You have the right to change directions in mid-stream.

Holiday grief is unpredictable. You may be all ready to go somewhere or do something and suddenly be overwhelmed. When that happens, it’s okay to change your mind. There’s plenty of time in life to be predictable. Exercise your right to change when you need to.

You have the right to do things at different times.

Go to church at different times. Open presents at a different time. Serve your meal at a different time. Give up and go to bed at a different time! Don’t be a slave to the holiday clock.

You have the right to rest, peace, and solitude.

You don’t need to be busy all the time. Take a nap whenever you need one. Take time to pray and to meditate, to recharge your spirit. It may do you much more good than eating another huge meal!

You have the right to do it all differently again next year.

Just because you change things one year- you know, try something different- does not mean you have written it in stone. Next year, you can always change it back or do it in yet another way.