How to Help
Grievers During the Holiday Season
Where there is great love there are always miracles.
Being supportive of a bereaved friend is a worthy endeavor that may
drain you of energy, especially during the busy holiday season. It is important to attend to your own feelings and fatigue.
When you take care of yourself you are better able to help others.
visit December's Child for thoughts on how to support grieving children, or refer to How Children Grieve from ChildGrief.org.
If you want to write a note of sympathy for your grieving friend, but need a little
boost to get started, click Writing Letters of Condolence.
You can plan in advance for ways to reach out to your grieving friend during the holiday
season. Here are a few suggestions to get your own ideas flowing, but I believe that if you listen to your heart, you will
always know how to best help your friend. Trust the message.
Invite your friend to share the holiday at your house.
Take your friend out for a special Christmas lunch.
Better yet, invite your friend over to your place
for a holiday meal.
Please don’t avoid the loss. Your friend may need to cry and reminisce about happier
times, or may need a break from the sadness that your invitation provides. Grief is personal. Allow the conversation to go
where it needs to go.
Write a note, send a card, deliver flowers, or give a thoughtful gift.
donation to a holiday charity in memory of the one who has died and have the announcement sent to your friend.
Take a drive to look at Christmas lights. Stop for dinner.
Grief drains people of energy making activities
of daily living very difficult and holiday preparations overwhelming. Call your grieving friend and ask what you can pick
up for them at the store today.
Simplify your friend's life. What tasks are overwhelming to your friend right
now? Cook a few meals for the freezer, offer to help write thank you notes for the gifts of food and flowers at the time of
the death, pick up the kids from school, stop by the dry cleaners, or shop for groceries. In short, run errands because your
friend doesn't have the concentration or energy to do so.
Offer to take the dog for a walk, replace the kitty litter,
clean the house, change the bed linens, run the dishwasher, take out the trash, or do the laundry.
only the basics. Cleaning out the closets, rearranging the furniture, decorating, handling cherished Christmas treasures,
or moving items that belonged to the deceased loved one are intrusive and will likely be resented.
Be a handy person,
or one of Santa's helpers, if this feels appropriate. Consider the seasons and your geography as you offer simple services:
wash windows, mow the lawn, rake leaves, shovel snow, or change the furnace filter.
Grief needs to be expressed
outwardly for healing to occur. If your friend likes to write, buy a beautiful blank journal, gift wrap it and drop it off,
or mail it. Begin the journal by writing a supportive note on the first page.
Above all, please don’t forget
your grieving friend during the holiday season and don’t give up. Your friend may be hurting too much to respond. Try
again later. It really is the effort that counts and the time you took to show that you care.
Not many people want,
or are able, to enter into another person's pain and suffering. Compassion for our fellow travelers is in short supply and
you are offering the gift of love. Congratulate yourself for expressing the deeper meaning of the season by accompanying someone
dear on one of life's most difficult journeys.
For more ideas on how to help a grieving friend, please
refer to Love in Action.
Go to next page: Gift Ideas from the Heart
I find a page or link that used to be here?
Over the last nine years, The Grieving Heart® meandered
into many topics and lost its purpose. I have deleted 40 pages to bring it back to the original focus of grief and helping
Web addresses come and go and I cannot guarantee the accuracy, safety or longevity of third-party (external) sites.
Adding links by request, or finding and fixing broken links are massive time consumers, so I have deleted many outside sources
and will limit additions in the future. The external links that remain are checked on a regular basis and related to
grief, helping grievers and pet loss.
will continue to honor and remember veterans and fallen soldiers because it is the least I can do for those who have
given so much.
I hope that my renewed attention
to grief information will make The Grieving Heart® a better experience and comfort for you. Thank you for visiting. CJ
A Word About E-mail: One way to decrease SPAM e-mail caused by Internet bots is to deactivate the live address link. You can still contact
me by copying and pasting this address into your own e-mail program.
Note to Visitors:
I read and
respond to grief email at the end of each month when I update this site. If you need a more timely response, please visit
a well moderated grief healing discussion group. It is free to use and requires registration to participate. I am not part of this group, but certified
grief counselors are there to help, support and comfort grievers and those who love them. Because the
counselors lost funding for the site, they are grateful for voluntary donations.
Why no links to Facebook and other social media? Click here for the answer.
and individual mending is, the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar. Mary Jane Moffat
© Copyright 2008 - 2017 Christine Jette. All rights reserved.