The holidays are typically a time of joy and togetherness, but for someone mourning the loss of a loved one it can be an excruciating time of year. Even if the loss wasn’t recent, the holidays conjure up all manner of feelings when a loved one isn’t present and it can be hard to know how to help. To support you, we’ve rounded up five tips to help you show your loved one you care this holiday season.
Let them know you are thinking of them this holiday season
Grief can be so lonely, whether it's recent or long lasting. The best way to support your grieving loved one is to let them know you care and are thinking of them.
You don’t need to make any grandiose overtures, keep it simple. Something like, “This is probably a really hard time of year for you and I want you to know I am thinking of you. I am here for you.”
So often, people just need to be seen and have their pain acknowledged. If they want to talk about what they’re going through, be there for them, without judgment or trying to problem solve. Just listen.
Share a memory
Recently a friend shared a memory of my late mom from years ago. It changed my entire day. It was such a joy to revisit that moment and while it did make me sad, it was worth it. As mentioned, grief is lonely. The more ways you can think of to connect to your grieving friend or loved one, the more they will feel your genuine support and care. In this example, the sharing of this memory made me feel more connected to that friend for having taken the time to share it.
Offer specific practical support
There is nothing more overwhelming to a grieving person than the words “let me know what I can do to help”. In the attempt to take something off that person’s plate you’ve just added yet another task for them to manage. So, instead, offer specific help or support.
Here are some examples:
- Offer to prepare a meal or part of a meal.
- Offer to help them gift wrap presents (and spend time with them)
- Offer to help them decorate their home
- Offer to help get holiday cards addressed and sent out
For many, the holiday rituals that used to be fun and festive are now burdensome. You can help!
Invite or include them in your plans, but do not push
No one wants to be left out because they’re going through a hard time. That makes it worse. Don’t assume they wouldn’t want to be invited. Invite them, include them, but do not push for them to accept. They will feel thought of and cared for, without being overwhelmed.
Send a thoughtful gift that shows you care
Sometimes, a beautiful, thoughtful gift can express so much of what words cannot. Let them know they’re in your heart and on your mind with a thoughtful gift. As a gesture, it will show your support and good intentions. Here are some ideas of what to give.For the easiest of gift giving, send our Sympathy Gift Box. It has all the components of a thoughtful gift that will help her feel loved, cared for and seen.