Anyone who has lost a loved one knows that grief does not take a holiday. While others are celebrating, those in mourning may feel their loved one's absence even more strongly. How can you help someone you care about cope with and gain comfort from what should be the most festive time of year?
Here are some tips.
- Don't be afraid to talk about their loved one. While you may worry that mentioning their loss could upset them, their grief is already on their mind. Grief is a burden that is lessened when shared. Ask about memories they have or share your own stories of their loved one from previous holidays.
- Offer specific help. Someone suffering from grief may not know how to ask for help. Try offering specific assistance such as, "Can I take your children on an outing to give you time to yourself?" or "I have free time this weekend; would you like help with the housework?"
- Honor the people they miss. Find a holiday gift that allows the mourner to remember the person they loved. A personalized memorial frame is a beautiful way to display a cherished photograph.
- Keep them company. Your friend or family member may want company, but they might not feel up to holiday social events. Let them know it's OK and be there for them. Offer a hug, a cup of tea, or just hang out and watch a movie together. He or she may appreciate having someone there to listen, or just spend time together.
- Recognize that everyone grieves differently. Everyone copes with mourning uniquely. Reach out to say you're thinking about them and hope to get together. Some mourners may be eager to get out, while others may turn down invitations for a long time. However, don't stop asking because they might not be ready to socialize yet. That doesn't mean they don't appreciate your efforts to connect. They'll say yes when they're ready.
- Send a thoughtful remembrance. Whether your grieving friend lives near or far, a gift that shows you care and are thinking of them is always welcome. The Remembrance Collection at 1-800-Flowers.com offers a number of thoughtful ideas, from remembrance trees to memorial lanterns, candles and gift baskets.
- Start a new holiday tradition. Help those who are mourning include a commemoration of their loved one as part of their holiday celebration. Set a place at the table for the person they've lost, light a candle in front of their framed photograph or add a commemorative decoration like a memorial wreath in honor of their loved one to help include the person they miss as part of the holiday.
1-800-Flowers.com has been helping customers express sympathy and connect for over 40 years, and developed an online "Celebrating A Life" guide for tips and advice, directly from experts, on how best to express condolences. Topics include: "Appropriate Sympathy Etiquette Across Different Religions," "7 Mindful Ways to Be a Good Listener," "How to Create a Memory Garden" and "Sympathy Etiquette and Social Media." You can find these articles and more at https://www.1800flowers.com/sympathy-articles.
The site serves as a resource for anyone in a time of need and is intended to make their experience a little easier to manage. These resources help provide a greater understanding of how you can help your friends, family and co-workers cope with loss.