Christmas time is a wonderful and beautiful time of year. For some, it can also be a difficult, lonely, and sad time of year. Everyone’s story is unique, and some are going through more difficult times than others. Some even experienced recent loss of a loved one. Regardless of the reason, feelings of sadness and sorrow during the holidays can be some of the most difficult to cope of all. Perhaps during those times taking the opportunity to share the Christmas spirit with someone who is grieving may make all the difference in the world for them, and help them feel the love and joy of the season. Here are some tips on how to share the Christmas spirit with the grieving during the holidays.
Giving Through Listen
Often times we are full of good advice, or at least we think we are. But sometimes what a grieving person needs more than anything is someone who can just listen to them. Sometimes the hardships we go through just don’t make sense. There can seem to be no rhyme or reason for our loss. Sometimes believing that there is a higher purpose that we can’t comprehend may not be that comforting during our deepest moments of grief. But having a listening ear, an empathetic, caring ear that doesn’t judge can be healing.
Giving Through Remembrance
Letting go of a loved one, accepting that they are gone, can be difficult at best. For anyone who has ever experienced the loss of loved one, it can be heartbreaking. When we are grieving, it can be helpful to remember the good times. Encouraging grieving family or friends to share memories of good Christmases of the past can help them focus on the positive. It can help to have an attitude of gratitude. Being a reassuring friend who reminds them that there are many good Christmases yet to come, can encourage them to see a way forward.
Giving Through New Activities
Sometimes the best medicine for the grieving is a positive activity, even if they don’t feel like doing anything. Just doing the normal routine can put your friend or family member in situations where they have memories triggered of their loved one they loss. This can cause them to dwell on their loss. Encourage them to create new positive memories by suggesting they do something they’ve talked about doing but never got around to. Let them know you would like to join them, if they would be open to it. Encourage them to take that art class they’ve always wanted to take, or volunteer together for a local holiday charity. It can be amazing how therapeutic serving others can be during difficult times. Perhaps your grieving friend has talked about taking a trip for a long time that they keep putting off. Now might be a great time to take that trip. Having positive new experiences can build hope that life will go on, that they can be happy again.
Giving Through Patient
The grieving process takes time. And the different stages take different amounts of time for different people. Try to be patient while being an encouraging and thoughtful friend. Remember to give them space and allow them to grieve. Grieving is a natural part of the healing process from loss. Sometimes the most difficult times during the grieving process are when others have already moved on. It may take months or even a year later when the loss of a loved one can feel the greatest. Try to be mindful of your friend even after some time has passed. Continue to reach out, invite them to events and activities, let them know that you are still there for them and that you care.
The holidays can be both a time of joy and sadness for those who are grieving. But for those who are grieving who have family and friends who are there for us who listen, who help us remember better times, who show us patience and are thoughtful when others have forgotten, we find hope. Perhaps you know someone who is grieving that you can share the Christmas spirit with this year?