Looking Back | Living Forward

Grief and Trauma Specialists


Licensed to Practice in PA, MD, VA, WV, and MA

Holiday Grief is Heavy

The holiday season is upon us…again. I wanted to write something that is meaningful, insightful, and comforting. I find that it makes more sense, perhaps, to share something that is validating. Something that might help you feel seen in your grief. Something that might make the weight you carry feel just a little lighter because grief is heavy. A mother who lost her son tragically to suicide described her grief as heavy...

In the beginning, you don’t have those first thoughts like this is forever. At first, you are dealing with the trauma and the shock and disbelief. Later, you realize that the longer you hold something the heavier it gets and the reality sets in that he’s not here and it is just wrong. You realize the weight of this is forever.

Grief is heavy. It can be especially heavy over the holidays. We often look forward to the holidays with dread and the anticipation of them being over. There are reminders everywhere we turn that someone we love is no longer with us. This makes our grief feel even heavier. The decision to decorate, heavy. Holiday shopping, heavy. Holiday gatherings, meals, heavy. Holiday songs, heavy.

Our hearts feel heavy. It may feel like too heavy of a weight to carry. Maybe, just maybe, that some of that heaviness is the love that we carry, and always will carry, for those that we have lost. Maybe that is what we can carry into this holiday season, the heaviness of love.

-Lisa Zoll, LCSW





Announcing Our New Book...Living Forward for First Responders

By Lisa Zoll with Ali W. Rothrock

In this book are thoughts, quotes, and things that I have either written, heard, or that have been shared with me in my experience as a grief and trauma therapist and as a first responder in my community. My hope is that you will find validation, acknowledgment, and perhaps some inspiration for living forward with challenges that you may experience in your work as a first responder.

Introduction by Lynn Shiner

Forward by Ali W. Rothrock


Read the first hand experiences of first responders...I went from feeling the uncertainty of what I wanted to do to clearly seeing the big picture and knowing that I did the best that I could with the cards handed to me…which means continuing in the fire service. I never wanted to talk to the people who came to the fire house to about traumatic incidents (i.e., CISM teams). I thought it was all bull@#$&. But it definitely does help. Mental health is a big deal!”

(excerpt from a Chief who had to navigate a fire call that trapped one of his firefighters)


I'm interested in services for

Working with individuals experiencing grief and/or trauma is the foundation of what we do at Grief Relief. Our team is focused on helping you navigate challenging life events.

Living Forward is the training, consulting, and speaking platform of Grief Relief. We provide a variety of presentations that will inspire, train, and motivate participants.

GRIT is the crisis intervention platform of Grief Relief. When a traumatic event occurs, it can impact everyone involved. Through Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), we help those impacted by the event.

GROW is the mobile services platform of Grief Relief. Our mobile office brings our specialized services directly to your organization. These services can be provided on the individual level or group level.

From our Living Forward Speaking Platform

"I attended your workshop on and grief...I have been a social worker for over 30 years and you were able to take this huge and very important topic and break it apart for us and remind us of the importance of the interconnection between trauma and grief. Your slide were carefully thought out and very well done! Thank you for a great presentation."

(Participant at the National Association of Social Worker - PA Conference)

What Patients are Saying

"Lisa has been so wonderful! I would highly recommend her for anyone going through grief or counseling in general. The staff here are kind , compassionate, and understanding."

Patient Review

Featured in The New York Times

“People don’t feel like they have the right to grieve,” said Lisa S. Zoll, a licensed clinical social worker in Lemoyne, Pa., who specializes in grief counseling. “A year into this, the losses are piling up. I just had this conversation in my office when this person said, ‘I can’t complain about my grief, because people have it worse.’ But we have to correct that thinking. Your grief is your grief. You can’t compare it to other people’s.”

Tara Parker-Pope,
The New York Times

Our Mission

Our mission is joining with members of the community in a space that allows them to navigate stressful life events at their own pace. Our goal is to facilitate the healing journey by identifying ways to process past experiences and embrace the possibilities of the future.

Our Vision

Our vision is to provide expert services customized to meet the unique needs of the individuals, families, groups, communities, and the organizations we serve.