VNA Blog

How to Get Through the Holidays After the Loss of A Loved One

The holiday season is a time when many families come together for celebrations, warm memories and time honored traditions.   But for many, the holidays can feel like an unwelcome intrusion. The weeks of anticipation and the holidays themselves can be a time of increased pain and loneliness for those who have lost a loved one.

What may seem like the "easy" way to deal with your loss during the holiday season may in reality be the most difficult: trying to make it through the holidays by ignoring your loss, by not talking and sharing your memories of the departed, and by not acknowledging the pain and sadness everyone is feeling.  The greatest gift you can give yourself and your family during the holidays is permission to grieve which includes talking and sharing your concerns openly. Finding ways to acknowledge and honor the memory of your loved one during this holiday season can create a special closeness for the whole family. Remember, there is no right or wrong in this process of grieving.

As a family, you can give each other tremendous support once you get past the fear of talking about the person who has died but remains an integral part of your family and the holiday memories you share. Spending a few moments acknowledging your loss may give you the strength you need to reach out to others and allow yourself to enjoy this holiday with your family and friends.  The following are suggestions for getting through the holidays:

1.      Take care of yourself.

The added stress of the holidays can be exhausting. Make sure you get adequate rest, eat well, and remember that moderate exercise is a proven stress reliever.

2.      Decide what you can handle comfortably.

Grief can limit your physical and emotional stamina. Would you like assistance with some of the tasks that you have always done in the past like addressing holiday cards, baking or decorating your home?  Don't be afraid to ask for help or to make changes that will alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling. Sharing the holiday activities and tasks may add to the holiday spirit for everyone.

3.      Don't be afraid to suggest a change.

Do not feel obligated to follow past holiday traditions.  You may choose a different time to open presents or you may wish to spend the holidays in a different place.   Ask yourself if the holidays will still be meaningful with these changes. Do tell others about your ideas and plans, so that these changes will not come as a last-minute surprise.

4.      Do something nice for yourself.

Eliminate something you have always considered an unpleasant task associated with the holidays.  Spend time doing what you enjoy - going to a movie, buying yourself something special, telephoning an old friend.  Recognize and rejoice in your inner strength.

5.      Do something for others.

Reaching out beyond your pain and helping someone else during this season of good will can bring comfort and satisfaction. Many organizations - like VNA Meals on Wheels - need volunteers to prepare, serve or deliver meals to families during the holidays and would appreciate your efforts.

6.      Concentrate on the good.

Be patient with yourself and be flexible.  Allow yourself to have fun, to laugh - or cry -  and enjoy and appreciate the people around you. This is not inappropriate or disrespectful. There will be time for both sadness and joy during this holiday season.

As you work toward finding some comfort and healing from your loss this holiday, remember that you are not alone. Reaching out and sharing your feelings with friends and family is an ongoing tribute to your loved one. VNA offers free bereavement events throughout the year for members of the community grieving the death of a loved one. Please contact VNA at for more information. 

25 Years of Volunteers Delivering Meals on Wheels for Thanksgiving

500 Volunteers deliver Thanksgiving meals to homebound, hungry seniors


For the 25th consecutive year, 500 dedicated volunteers spent their Thanksgiving morning delivering meals and a warm smile to over 3,700 homebound, hungry seniors for VNA Meals on Wheels. 

At 5:00 am VNA Meals on Wheels Kitchen Staff began preparing over 800 pounds of turkey, traditional cornbread dressing, gravy, spinach, ambrosia salad, cranberry sauce and over 3,700 dinner rolls!  Volunteers from Jesuit College Preparatory School began arriving at 7:00 am to transfer hot coolers filled with meals prepared at VNA's Beatrice M. Haggerty Kitchen to the parking lot that were later picked up by volunteer drivers at 8:30 am. Other community groups who helped deliver meals include Ursuline Academy, Plano Amateur Radio Club, Dallas Sai Center, Booz & Co., HP, Dallas Fire Rescue Explorers, Kirkwood Temple CME, Metropolitan Baptist, and Living Testimony Baptist.

Many families across north Texas have made delivering meals to homebound, hungry seniors a Thanksgiving tradition.  "Our older son was in preschool and my wife was expecting when we started delivering meals on Thanksgiving," VNA's Vice President and General Counsel Tom Ricciardelli stated.  "It has become a family tradition that we  all look forward to every year." The Ricciardelli family has participated in VNA Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving deliveries every year for the past 25 years. 

If you find senior hunger unacceptable, volunteer once a year or more to deliver food and friendship. Groups and individuals interested in volunteering to deliver VNA Meals on Wheels in Dallas County are invited to call (214) 689-2210 or email  To donate to VNA, visit or email


VNA Uses the Power of Pie to Help Local Seniors

Hundreds Participate in New Initiative Raising Over $25,000


DALLAS (November 27, 2013) - Today hundreds of North Texans picked up their Thanksgiving pies from VNA Power of Pie Pickup Locations across Dallas County. But these were not your ordinary Thanksgiving pies - these were VNA Pies purchased through VNA's new online fundraiser Power of Pie and donated by THE best bakers in Dallas.  Power of Pie is an online fundraising initiative to help support VNA's mission of helping older adults live with dignity and independence at home.  During the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, North Texans went online to, purchased a VNA Pie for $25 and then picked up their VNA Pie from their preferred Power of Pie Pickup Location in Dallas County.  VNA Pies were available in traditional Thanksgiving flavors - pecan and pumpkin - and 100% of their proceeds benefited VNA programs and services - VNA Hospice Care, Meals on Wheels and Private Care.  "We are so thankful for all those who purchased a VNA Pie," stated VNA President and CEO Katherine Krause.  "Through their support, we raised over $25,000 to help us feed hungry, homebound seniors and provide quality hospice care for charitable patients."

Power of Pie Bakers: Hilton Anatole, Abacus, KB Catering, Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas, Spoon, Empire Baking Co., Neiman Marcus, The Joule Hotel, Hotel Lumen's Front Room, The Fairmont Dallas, Lakewood Country Club, Park City Club, Kent Rathbun Catering, and Hyatt Regency Dallas.

Power of Pie Pickup Locations: Church of the Incarnation, Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf , VNA Haggerty Center, White Rock UMC, Zion Lutheran School and Spring Valley UMC, Baptist Church of Duncanville, TD Industries, First Presbyterian Church of Garland and Grace Pointe Church and HP (CBRE, Inc.).

Citi "Delivers Dallas" for VNA Meals on Wheels

citi-015.jpg900 Citi Employees delivered VNA Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors

For the 15th consecutive year, over 900 Citi employees "Delivered Dallas" on Friday, November 8 by delivering 2,689 nutritious meals and a warm smile to homebound seniors for VNA Meals on Wheels routes in Dallas County.  "Delivers Dallas" is a community service project created by Citi in 1999 to increase the community's awareness of VNA Meals on Wheels.  The annual "Deliver Dallas" event is the largest volunteer activity of the year for both Citi and VNA, and aims to encourage other companies to answer the need for VNA Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers. 

This year's "Deliver Dallas" event relieved VNA from having to pay drivers to deliver 223 VNA Meals on Wheels routes that day.  The money saved makes it possible to take two hungry, homebound seniors off the waiting list to receive VNA Meals on Wheels and provide them with nutritious meals for an entire year.  More than half of the VNA Meals on Wheels delivery routes in Dallas County are currently driven by paid drivers because of a shortage of volunteers - money that could be spent to provide more meals to the elderly!

In an effort to feed even more seniors in need, Citi's Irving Site President Rodney Phelps and Citi's Deliver Dallas Chair Cindy Denbow presented a $10,000 check to VNA President and CEO Katherine Krause, on behalf of the local Citi employees.  "Everyday thousands of seniors go without food in Dallas County," stated Krause.  "It's not because we don't have the capacity to feed them, but because we don't have the resources.  Citi is helping us change that."  Currently, VNA has the ability to prepare 14,000 meals a day but lacks the funding and volunteers to meet this capacity.  Phelps stated, "At Citi, one of our key values is 'Acting in the Best interest of our clients and our communities.' Our employees take great pride and joy in today's event, knowing they are making a difference in the lives of those in need."

If you find senior hunger unacceptable, volunteer once a year or more to deliver food and friendship. Groups and individuals interested in volunteering to deliver VNA Meals on Wheels in Dallas County are invited to call (214) 689-2210 or email  To donate to VNA, visit or email


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Living with 107-year-old Princella Hartman

Princella Hartman was an amazing woman who always took care of others in her community and lived to be 107.  VNA is proud to have served her and the Hartman family through VNA Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care.  We are happy to share this beautiful video featuring the Hartman family and produced by The Dallas Morning News.  We will miss you, Princella!

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