The following information is from Hope for the Bereaved:
Suggestions For Coping With the Holidays:
There is no perfect time for grieving the death of a loved one, but the Holiday season becomes even harder with family gatherings, memories of Holiday’s spent together and the thought of “How Will I Survive This Holiday Season?” There is no wrong or right way to handle the holidays. You and your family may wish to follow its annual family traditions; maybe you wish to change them or just do things a little bit differently. HOPE For Bereaved would like to offer you these suggestions for “Coping with the Holidays”
Suggestions For the Bereaved:
Plan Ahead. Sit down with your loved ones and talk about what each wants to do for the holidays. Let relatives and friends know your decisions.
Shopping. Shop by catalog, phone or internet. Shop with a friend or ask someone to shop for you. Give gift certificates or donate to a worthy cause in
memory of your loved one.
Take Care of Yourself. Be careful of “shoulds”. Try to put balance in your life; get adequate rest, eat well, exercise, take a walk, read, pray and relax.
Holiday Activities. Consider buying baked goods or doing without, using fewer decorations or asking
family or friends to decorate, top cleaning (it is not
necessary to scrub), sending less holiday cards or none at all.
Holiday Dinner. Consider making some changes: serving buffet style, eating at a different time or in a different room, going to another’s home.
Religious Services. Attend at a different time or place. Turn to your faith-try to concentrate on the meaning of the season.
Invitations. Family and friends may invite you to gatherings. Consider attending. Explain that you hope they will understand if you can’t attend or have to leave early.
Express Feelings. Cry when you have to, laugh when you can.
Ask For and Accept Help. Share your concerns, feelings and apprehensions with an understating friend. Plan special times with people with whom you are comfortable.
Help Others. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, visit shut-ins. Invite someone who is alone to share the day with you. Provide food/gifts for the needy.
Expectations. Keep expectations of yourself and the holidays realistic. Usually the anticipation of the holiday is worse than the day itself.
Hold on to Hope. In time, your grief will soften, but your loved one will always be a special part of your life and your holidays.
Suggestions for Helping the Bereaved
Listen. Be there. Hug. The bereaved need someone with whom they can talk. They don’t expect answers, just a good listener.
Make Your Offer of Help Specific. Don’t say, “call me anytime,” instead, be specific: “Let me shop for you on Thursday afternoon.”
Give Practical Help. Look for a need and fill it; such as running errands, babysitting, holiday shopping and decorating, or baking a meal.
Show that You Care. Send a special card or call on the phone. Stay in their life.
Give a Thoughtful Gift. A small gift such as a plate of cookies, an ornament, a book for journaling, one of HOPE’s books – Understanding, Coping and Growing Through Grief, or Coping with the Holidays, may be appropriate.
Listen. Listen. Listen. This is listed again because it is so important. Offer to spend time, sit over a cup of tea, go for a walk, or go out to lunch.
Validate Feelings. Allow and encourage the bereaved to express their emotions and be supportive.