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If you’re struggling with grief this Christmas season, you’re not alone. Here’s a look at what can help.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

December 10, 2021

1 Min Read
cardinal sitting on branch in winter
NEARBY: Grief isn’t linear or predictable. And it comes in waves. Holly Spangler

The holidays bring a lot of joy, plenty of stress, and for some of us, more than our share of heartache, as well. That’s true on the farm or off. However, several Farm Progress editors have covered grief as it relates to the farm. Here’s a look at some reading that might help your heart this Christmas season:

Grief: What really helps. When Josh and Tiffany Flint lost their young son to cancer, they had to rebuild a crumbled world. Here’s what they learned, and how you can help friends in crisis.

Joy, suffering and elephants. The beauty of Christmas is an odd juxtaposition to the sadness such a momentous occasion often carries. Where does grief fit at Christmastime?

Loss of a loved one means dealing with grief. Grief is normal. The healing process after the loss of a loved one begins with understanding that there are five stages of grief, notes Purdue’s Bill Field.

The end of a long road. The march toward the inevitable began last May. The diagnosis. The tears. The treatments. The hospital. Finally, hospice. My mother died last week.

You are not alone. What happens when the children begin to care for their parents? Even bury their parents? Here’s what I’ve learned.

5 things I’ve learned about grief. The small moments, the photos, the waves, and more.

Remembering. On July 3, 2005, my best friend went into labor and never woke up. Amniotic embolism, they said. Rare. So rare, it’ the kind of event doctors and nurses remember for their careers. Can this many years really have passed? And yet I think about her every single day.

About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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