Stateline residents cope with grief during the holiday season

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The holidays are meant to be spent with friends and families and when a family member passes away it can make the holiday's more difficult to enjoy.

"He had a stocking on the tree," said Peggy Poffenberger.

Poffenberger recently lost her furry friend her pet cat. She says her loss is making this holiday season more difficult.

"He was very important to me. So I did grieve about my cat," said Poffenberger.

But Poffenberger isn't the only one grieving this holiday

"I was up doing my tradition thing of getting a Christmas tree at Williams’s Tree Farm and got a call from my brother that my dad had passed away," said Brian Klaug, clinical social worker.

Klaug lost his father in November of 2015 and he's been taking his own advice to grieve.

"Acknowledging some of the sadness and talking about it and not avoiding it or stuffing it. Then being around family and reliving memories that have been fun or looking at pictures as a way to kind of continue to heal," Klaug.

Clinical Social Worker Kevin Polky says the holidays are known to be the time spent with family and friends. That can magnify sad feelings about a lost family member.

"If we have a loss then we are going to connect this time period to family activities, to rituals and it's connected to this time of year because a lot of time with the holidays we have had those family experiences together,” said Polky.

But there are things you can do to remember those who aren't here this holiday.

“Buying a special ornament in memory of that person and honoring their memory. They might light a candle, they might have a moment of silence, they might set a plate, or make that person's favorite dish,” said Klaug.

It is also recommended to talk with someone you trust if you are having any feelings of grief or depression.