3 Ways to Be a Friend to Those Grieving During the Holidays

Last year was a humdinger of a year in a lot of ways for the Haynie house. One of those is that I either directly lost or know people who lost loved ones, and very few of those deaths were from Covid. Almost all of them were sudden with those passing being younger than 60.

I stopped counting at twenty-five.

For all of these, they’re facing either their first or second Christmases without their loved ones. Now that we’re into the heart of the holiday season, I’ve wondered how best to care for them.

  1. Moderate expectations. Anyone who has lost someone always faces a round of “firsts.” First birthday. First Thanksgiving. First Christmas. All without their father, brother, mother, sister, son, daughter, or friend. Traditions that brought joy now seem empty. It’s hard attend happy and fun events with a heavy heart. If you have a party and your friend turns down your invitation, don’t take it personally. They simply don’t feel like being social, and that’s okay.
  2. Don’t forget. When a death occurs, there’s always a lot of activity immediately afterward when the memorial service is held. Then, as days turn into weeks and the weeks to months, silence sets in. People move on with their lives. Many people don’t know how to respond to those who are grieving. It’s easy for those who grieve to feel lonely, to get lost in the shuffle, especially during November and December. Take time to remember them. Drop a gift by their house. Or if they’re far away, write a note to them. I talk about how to do so in a previous blog.
  3. Remember them beyond the holidays. Grieving is a non-stop, grinding process. For those in the throes of it, it’s hard, lonely work that never seems like it will end or ease. More than ever, it’s good to continue writing notes or checking on those who grieve, in whatever manner works.

Sometimes, the holidays can be tough for a myriad of reasons. There are four ladies I know who lost either children or spouses unexpectedly to whom I’ve written in the past several months. This week, I plan to write to each of them, to let them know that they’re in my prayers, no matter what.

Many face the holidays with the loss of loved ones on their minds. Please remember them. #Christmas #encouragement Share on X

Question: How do you care for those who are grieving during this time of year?

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