How to Be of Help to Those Grieving During the Holidays
While many people look forward to yearly holiday traditions, gatherings with family and friends and the good feelings associated with the season, some people dread the holidays. For those who have lost a loved one during the past year, the holidays may heighten their grief.
The holidays, especially the first ones after losing a loved one, are especially difficult for people who are grieving. Often, friends and family members of those affected by a loss are unsure how to act or what to say to support their grieving loved one during the holidays.
Everyone grieves in their own way and within their own timeframe, so please be understanding and patient with them. If you have ever lost someone dear to you, this is the time to put yourself in that person’s shoes and understand what they are feeling and going through. Do not pity them, but let them know you are there for them and try to help make the holiday a little easier on them if you can. below are some suggestions on how you can be of help.
Here are some suggestions:
- Be supportive of the way the person chooses to handle the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to change their rituals. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to handle the holidays.
- Offer to help the person with baking and/or cleaning. Both tasks can be overwhelming for one trying to deal with raw emotions.
- Offer to help them decorate for the holidays.
- Offer to help with holiday shopping or give your loved one catalog or on-line shopping sites that may be helpful.
- Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family.
- Invite them to your home for the holidays.
- Help them prepare and mail holiday cards.
- Ask the person if he or she is interested in volunteering with you during the holiday season. Doing something for someone else, such as helping at soup kitchens or working with children, may help your loved one feel better about the holidays.
- Donate a gift or money in memory of the person’s loved one. Remind the person that his or her special person is not forgotten.
- Never tell someone that he or she should be “over it.” Instead, give the person hope that, eventually, he or she will enjoy the holidays again.
- If he or she wants to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, LISTEN. Active listening from friends is an important step to helping him or her heal. Don’t worry about being conversational…. just listen.
- Remind the person you are thinking of him or her and the loved one who died. Cards, phone calls, and visits are great ways to stay in touch.
In general, the best way to help those who are grieving during the holidays is to let them know you care. They need to be remembered, and they need to know their loved ones are remembered, too.