The holidays are
upon us and it seems that many people have decided to simplify their
holiday traditions this year. Instead of spending hours
shopping and getting frustrated at the mall, they have decided to spend
quality time with friends and family.
In the spirit of
simplicity and kindness, we have compiled a list of 12 simple and
memorable ways to support a grieving loved one this holiday season.
This list comes from the suggestions submitted by our online
community. So take a minute to check your holiday To Do
List and be sure you have added your grieving loved ones to the
Don't be afraid to acknowledge the loss. One
of the most important things you can do for a friend that is grieving is
to understand that special occasions and holidays may be filled with
both sorrow and joy.
message as simple as "I know the holidays may be difficult for you. I
want you to know that I am thinking about you." will let them know
Listen and allow the tears to flow. Allow
your friend the opportunity to feel
all the feelings he or
she is experiencing this time of year.
Allow the person to set the pace. Grief is a
little like a roller coaster with many ups and downs. Your
friend may want to cry one minute, talk about fun memories the next and
then the next may want to have some time alone. Respect
their needs and understand that their change in mood is not about you.
Encourage your friend to talk about the person that has passed
away. If you knew the person, share your fond memories
Invite your friend to join you for your holiday
gathering. As family members pass away, traditions change and a
loved one may not be able to spend the holidays with their family.
Including them in your family festivities will help ease the loneliness
they may be feeling this time of year.
Send a card and be sure to acknowledge the loss.
Don't be afraid to mention the person's name or to include your own
personal memories of the person that has passed away.
Visit the cemetery with your friend or leave flowers with
a note for the family at the gravesite.
Prepare your friend's favorite holiday treat or a
favorite food of the person that has passed away.
Each year I prepare my mother's holiday cookies to remember her love for
Create a scrapbook of memories. Ask friends
and family to write down their memories of the loved one that has passed
away and put together a scrapbook of pictures and stories to give to
your grieving friend.
Make a donation to their favorite charity in memory of the
person that has passed away.
Encourage them to take care of themselves.
Self care is very important to the healing process. Give a
gift of pampering at a spa or prepare a care package that includes a
relaxation CD, bath salts, and an aromatherapy candle. If
going to a spa is not their way of relaxing, find an activity that
brings them joy and relaxation.
Don't run for the hills. Many people are
afraid to be around a person that is grieving. They often
treat the grieving person as though they have a contagious disease.
A true friend is the one that stands by their friend and allows
them the space to feel all the feelings they are going through...the
good and the bad.
support, understanding and companionship during the holidays will be a
cherished gift. Be sure to listen to your friend's wishes
and do not force him or her to participate in activities that may be
overwhelming. Be sure to only offer your support if you know you can
truly follow through. And remember, it is the simple acts of kindness
that are delivered with an open heart that are remembered year after
often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word,
listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring,
all of which have the potential to turn a life around."