While most people are looking to connect with family and friends, others are bracing themselves for the waves of sadness that grieving a loved one during the holidays can bring. There are small but mighty ways you can show support for those who are dealing with loss and grief. Here are 6 ways to show you care this holiday season:
1. Inquire About Their Current State, But Don’t Feel Obligated To Fix Them
A person dealing with grief can often feel stagnant. Understandably, they may be struggling to move beyond their loss while watching others go on with normal activities. To connect, you can say, ‘I’ve been thinking about you. How have you been feeling since the loss of XX?’
Once they’ve shared, keep it at ‘I hear you’ or simply offer a hug and let them know they can talk about it anytime they want. Giving them space to talk freely goes a long way, especially when you do it without believing we have to take their pain away or do anything to fix it. It can be extremely relieving for them.
2. Share Words Of Encouragement
Whether you’re far away from your grieving loved one or they just want to be alone, a quick note can go a long way. An email or text can show them you’re thinking of them during the holidays.
The messages should highlight positivity and focus on lifting their spirits, not what they’ve lost. Remind them in subtle ways that grieving is a life-long process, but the pain will diminish over time, especially with the help of surrounding friends and family.
3. Make Your Support Real
It’s easy to tell someone who’s grieving to call you if they need anything during the holidays, but more than likely they won’t. Not only is it against our culture to willingly burden others with our problems, but we especially don’t want to unload our sorrow onto anyone during what’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
After the loss, immediately people are often supported for a short few days or weeks. But then people get on with their own lives and the grieving are left with their loss. This is usually when the depression creeps in. The last thing they want to do is invite someone into their pain.
Instead of leaving the option open-ended, try offering something concrete and purposeful that will help lift their mood. Asking if you can stop by and cook dinner or taking their kids off their hands so they can do a bit of holiday shopping or perform a type of self-care.
4. Be Careful With How You Speak About The Person Who Died
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions of what grieving people need, people tend to