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The Gift of Love: How to Help

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How to Help Grievers During the Holiday Season


Where there is great love there are always miracles.
Willa Cather



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. 

Please 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.

Make a 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.

NOTE: Do 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


 
  July 2017
 

 


 

Why can’t 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 grievers.

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. 

I 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

 


 

 My E-mail:

Christine@thegrievingheart.info 

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. Thank you.

 
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.
 
 
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How complicated and individual mending is, the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
. Mary Jane Moffat
 
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