Every year the about this time, the world seems to be brighter and more colorful for most people, but not all. The holidays can be a difficult time for those whose loved ones have died, Here are some tips to help this holiday season.
1. Speak about the loved one. The bereaved are often afraid that the loved one will be forgotten. Your sharing your memories helps reassure them that you will remember.
2. Use the loved one’s name.
3. Do not avoid people because you are worried you might make then grieve. If you do, then they are grieving and isolated.
4. Give them time. Uncomplicated grief can take 18-24 months to resolve, Complicated grief, even longer.
5. Check back in. Most support for a grieving person wanes and drops off after the first two weeks, see number 4.
6. Donate a gift in the loved ones name.
7. Not everyone will be jolly and feel like dancing. Grief and sadness are tough emotions to manage, and they can’t just be turned off. The instruction to just smile and enjoy the season doesn’t work.
8. Be careful with your statements. As strange as if sounds, most of the comforting phrases that are said are not comforting. “He is wrapped in the arms of Jesus now” is hard to hear, when I want him wrapped in my arms.
9. We are never over it.
10. Find a quiet time and give the gift of time and attention by listening to the stories of the loved one. Start off with “Tell me about…” and then listen and share those moments of remembering them.
Normally a writer would quote a source for these kinds of tips. This would have been Chandler’s 18th Christmas, and Sara’s 17th. I still think about them each day, and no amount of time or grief will erase them from my mind. These tips have been gleaned from years of learning how to cope with their deaths. I have written numerous times about this same issue, it is becoming my Christmas tradition. I do this for those who don’t know how to tell you. They have not found their voice to tell you what they need. Some may not even know what they need. I speak for them.