The holidays are times for family to gather from near and far to enjoy each others' company. We want to cherish each moment with our loved ones. Although the holidays are filled with great joy, it is important to remember those who have suffered the loss of a loved one this year. They may feel sorrow during these months full of traditions as they recall fond memories with those that have passed away.
Here are a few ways how to support your loved ones who may be grieving during the holiday season:
- Be sensitive.
Make sure you take extra care about what you say around the person who is grieving during this time. Make sure you are respectful of that person's memory and feelings. They might not be ready to openly talk about what they are going through, but it is important to check on them and make sure they are doing alright.
- Do not avoid those who are grieving just because you might feel uncomfortable.
Without uplifting friends, that individual may have a difficult time overcoming the grief they’re experiencing from losing a loved one. Inviting them over to watch a holiday movie or going shopping for gifts together could help them stay in high spirits. Being a good friend that communicates regularly will help provide comfort and support that they are likely in need of right now. Take a little extra time to reach out to them and make sure they feel included throughout the holiday season.
- Ask the person who is grieving to share stories of their loved one.
They person who passed will surely be remembered through past holidays. They may want to share with you some stories of their first holiday together, how they used to celebrate or particular customs they used to share together. Once they know they can talk to you about their loved one, they may open up a bit more and share things they have
- Enjoy the dishes which were most favored by the deceased.
If your grandfather always insisted on pumpkin pie or your great aunt loved strawberry strudel, try to prepare this dish or encourage other family members to help you make them, and show your understanding for why there are so important. You want those who are grieving to know that their most cherished loves ones have left an everlasting impact on the family, and will always be remembered through traditions and fond memories.
- Accommodate elderly family members in celebrations.
In most cases, those grieving are the older members of the family, so if it's the case they used to hold the family gathering at their house, be sensitive to this fact by offering to travel to their home for the holidays this year. Travel can be expensive and emotionally taxing, especially after suffering from a loss, so easing the burden of these grieving loved ones by instead traveling to their home will ease their sorrow, and also make them feel more comfortable. Many parts of the home which they shared with the deceased might be on display, and will more easily allow them to share stories about the person who they have lost, which will make them more comfortable.
Family gatherings are ways for us to show love and affection for those who are most emotionally close to us, even though geographically we might be very separated. For those who are grieving after the loss of a very cherished, beloved member of the family, you can honor this person by showing your admiration for the deceased, and by conveying your understanding, sympathy, and mutual grievance. It’s most important to remember that family gathering are above all about love, connection, and understanding.
Luckily, here in Aiken, Shellhouse and Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Homes offers many resources for those grieving so that they do not feel alone during the holiday season. For more information about how Shellhouse and Shellhouse-Rivers Funeral Homes can help you through holiday grief, visit ShellhouseFuneralHome.com or call 803-642-3456 or 803-641-4401.