Ideas to comfort those who mourn the death of a loved one during the holidays
Send a postal card of encouragement that acknowledges their loss. During the holidays they may be receiving many Christmas and New Years good wishes with cards, letters and pictures of happy families. These could add to their pain, as the one they love will not be in a holiday greeting this year. Sending them something that is just for them and encourages them through the pain may be deeply meaningful.
Invite them to attend a holiday concert with you. Creating new memories of the season is refreshing as well as a change of pace.
Ask if you can provide a Christmas dinner to arrive at their home OR invite them to your home, especially if they are alone. We invited a mother and her two sons, whose ex-husband and father had died suddenly. The whole family needed a different environment in which to be in that Christmas day. On the other hand, another single mother and her two adult sons were very grateful for their church who purchased a Thanksgiving dinner they could eat in the privacy of their own home after the death of the youngest son/brother.
If they are willing, include bereaved in your family traditions, or a simple mid-week meal.
Encourage them to volunteer somewhere in the community. Reaching out to others is a healthy way to refocus our pain and bring purpose to waking up in the morning. Volunteer with them.
Create a memory book if you have access to pictures of the deceased loved one. This kind of a gift will be treasured for a life time.
Make sure those who mourn are not alone on New Year’s eve, unless they want it that way. The beginning of a new year is a vulnerable time for grievers.
Stop by with a plate of cookies and sing old fashioned carols at the door.
Remember that the grieving friend or family member is not going to “get over it.” They must work through their pain. Welcome tears. Weep along with them. Accept times of laughter.
Rather than telling someone how they should be feeling, just LISTEN to them and let them share their thoughts, feelings, memories, and needs. Next Christmas season will not be like this one
Keep in mind, “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.”– Earl Grollman
Grief Educator, Grief Coach, Author, Speaker My interest in the area of grief awareness was a result of experiencing how unprepared others were to genuinely and sustainably comfort us after the death of our 3 year old son to leukemia. Rather than allowing my loss to evaporate into my past, I chose to use it as an opportunity to educate others, in hope that they will become renowned comforters. I also want to make my heart, and my experience with the God’s comfort and healing available to those who mourn. While grief changes us for the rest of our lives, how it changes us is within our control. We can either become less of a person, or a better one depending on the choices we make through our experience with loss and grief.