How to Handle Hurt during the Holidays

12-23-2018Journeying through Grief

The holidays are meant to be a joyous time spent with family and friends. For those who may be mourning the death of a loved one, the holidays can be very depressing in addition to stressful. Some of the stress comes from others who mean well, but do not know how to be supportive of someone who is grieving. To make the holidays less stressful, share this column with your family members and friends so that they know what is and is not appropriate.

Family and Friends - here is what you can do to help someone who is grieving:

  1. Provide a listening ear if your loved one wants to talk about his/her grief. Engage in active listening with your full attention. Let your loved one express his/her feelings without worrying about keeping a conversation going. Just listen.
  2. Do NOT try to comfort your loved one by saying things such as "He's in a better place now"; "God needed her more than you did"; "It's been several weeks/months/years since he died and it's time for you to move on with your life"; "You're still young and can have more children." These comments hurt, not help.
  3. Invite your loved one to join you in gatherings, going to church, going to Christmas concerts/programs, etc.
  4. Let your loved one know that you, too, miss the deceased person. Share your special memories of that person with your loved one.