APPLETON, WI -- The holiday season is full of joy, but for some it can be the hardest time of the year.
Whether it's the loss of a loved one, or feelings of depression, those experiencing feelings of grief were invited to a service in Appleton to come together, and heal.
For some, feelings of peace on earth come with Christmas. For others, the holidays come with a heavy weight.
"Issues of the past year, of personal loss. I, personally, lost my mother earlier this year," says attendee Dave Frederick. "This is going to be a tough Christmas," he adds, tears welling in his eyes.
"They see all this joy going on, and they feel this grief, and sorrow, in their hearts," says Rev. Jeannie Douglas, "and so, they don't know how to cope with that."
Douglas is interim pastor at First Congregational United Church of Christ. She says everyone deals with grief differently.
"[Some] work through it very quickly," says Douglas. "But, for some people, they just need to keep connecting with others, and know that others are going through the same thing."
"I brought together some friends to share in grief," says Frederick. "Grief shared is grief abated."
Tonight, in a space where all are welcome, people with their own personal sorrow are sharing their grief.
"We try to hide it so much," says Douglas, "because Christmas is supposed to be a happy, joyful time."
"So we can lean on each other," says Frederick, "which really is the true meaning of Christmas."
For a list of resources in our region for those struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, click here.