Published on in Cardiac Connection
By: Erin Prendergast, CCLS
For many, the holiday season is centered upon togetherness and creating joyful memories with loved ones. Often times the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the holidays can create a sense of comfort and happiness. Yet, for families who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be a source of sadness and difficulty.
Below are some ways you can help yourself, your child, a friend or family member who is grieving the loss of a loved one during the holiday season.
- Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the loss that your friend or family member may be feeling. One may fear that discussing the loss will lead to sadness. However, acknowledging the pain they are feeling will show them you haven’t forgotten about their loved one or the loss they have experienced.
- Respect their choices to stop or adjust traditions as they need to. Certain traditions that previously held special meaning may feel different now as the grieving person/s are healing.
- Offer to help with some of the responsibilities that can become stressful during the holidays and encourage them to take breaks as needed. Grief can take many different forms and takes time to work through. However, many people find it difficult to ask for help. Perhaps you can offer to help prepare a meal that the friend or family usually makes for holiday celebrations or accompany them to the mall to do some shopping.
- Know that it is normal for the grieving person/s to feel moments of happiness mixed in with their grief. Just be there — to offer a hug or quiet moment of support when they need it.
For additional support in coping with grief and loss, it may be helpful to find a therapist or a grief support group, such as The Compassionate Friends.