The Holiday Season brings on not only gifts and holiday cheer but darker and sadder emotions. Many know that I am a career funeral director with over 25 years of service before I retired to start The Pyrateheart Press two years ago.
Many can’t believe that the holiday season is a busy season for the death care industry. But yes, it’s true. The mortality rate increases during the months of November through February. Why do you ask?
For many reasons the mortality rate increases during the holiday season. One reason is due to the increase of drinking and driving related fatal accidents. Holiday parties and social gatherings contribute to an increase of about 33% in drunk driving fatalities according to Stokes Stemle, LLC. It doesn’t take much to become alcohol impaired. However, unfortunately, many individuals celebrating with friends and family don’t realize they are inebriated before it’s too late.
Another reason the mortality rate increases during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s is that the suicide rate increases. This time of year brings on memories of lost loved ones, missed family connections, and loss of friends that contributes to loneliness and sadness that many individuals can’t face through the festivities of the holiday season. Sadly, it is believed by death care professionals these individuals find suicide to be a better alternative to living through these months alone.
So, how can you help loved ones and dear friends survive the holiday season? First off, be present. If you see someone have too much to drink, ask for their keys. If they refuse, take them anyway. It’s easier to live with yourself with someone being pissed about taking their keys and driving them home than learning the next day they died or killed someone while driving drunk.
Check in with family and friends who live alone or have lost loved ones. A call, a visit or a small gift will go a long way to making them feel loved, important, and less lonely. Having those human connections makes all the difference to those who are lonely and sad.
Still not sure how to help? There are several nationwide organizations that can help you navigate these scary and uncertain situations and help your loved ones and friends come out of the holiday season safe and sound.
Driving under the influence and suicide don’t have to be the result of too much frivolity or sadness and loneliness. There are resources available to each of us. Here are a couple that you can reach out to for support:
MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving: https://www.madd.org/ or call them at tel:1-877-275-6233
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call them at tel:1-800-273-8255
Your loved ones and friends don’t have to suffer during the holiday season, and you can be the link to a resource that saves their lives.
As a career funeral director, I’ve seen many of these sad and preventable situations. The one way I want to help you is to give you the resources to help your loved ones. Don’t be afraid to reach out to these organizations. They are tried and true and care about you and those you love.
I’m Yvonne, owner of The Pyrateheart Press and I’ll see you next time!