Are you concerned about a friend or family member who is facing the difficult holiday season ahead as they struggle with grief? Here are some easy and practical suggestions for helping them cope during the holidays.
- When you think about them, immediately email, text or call them to just say “Hi” and let them know you are there for them.
- Send a Christmas card with a personal note of encouragement, comfort and support.
- Give them a meaningful Christmas present that evokes special memories of their loved one.
- Share your favorite memories of their loved one.
- When you make your favorite Christmas recipe, make a little extra and deliver it to them.
- Offer to help them do their Christmas shopping.
- Invite them over for a holiday meal and/or activities at your home.
- Invite them to go out for a drive to see the Christmas lights and decorations.
- Invite them to a Christmas play, pageant or candle light service.
- Give a donation in honor of their loved one to a charity or cause they support.
- Let them know you are keeping them and their family in prayer.
- Assure them that they are free to share whatever emotion they experience. You won’t judge what they say or feel. You will just listen and share the moment. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15 NIV
Remember to not let your fear of saying or doing the wrong thing or intruding in the life of a mourner keep you from doing anything at all for them. Mourners need you and others for support, encouragement and comfort. They need to speak honestly and to be heard. They need to know they have been heard and understood. By being there for a mourning friend or family member, you can be a catalyst in the healing process.
Written by Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT author of the grief survival guide “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise” available online at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Love-Never-LPC-S-Larry-Barber/dp/1613796005 ), Barnes & Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/love-never-dies-lpc-s-ct-larry-m-barber-ct-larry-m/1104364890?ean=9781613796016).
The grief survival guide is also available in Spanish as “El Amor Nunca Muere: Aceptando el Dolor con Esperanza y Promesa”