As the year draws to a close, those who are grieving a loss often face a complicated mix of emotions. It’s difficult to see people spending time with their families and celebrating festivities when they themselves are still in pain. It may be hard not to fixate on the loved one who is no longer with them. While on the flip side, expressing joy can feel like a betrayal of their loved one.
At Krause Funeral Home our compassionate staff makes a conscious effort to meet our Milwaukee County neighbors where they are in their grief. This is especially important this time of year. If you are close to someone who is dealing with a loss, here are some tips for supporting them during the holidays:
Optional invitations are the best.
Social situations can be stressful and demanding for people still reeling after a loved one’s death. Rather than imposing a strict RSVP, encourage a grieving friend to stop by your holiday party or get-together. Let them know they can decline the invitation if they like and do your best to be understanding if they show up to the event, aren’t in a jovial mood, and leave earlier than other guests.
It’s okay to talk about their loved one.
Try not to worry about saying the right or wrong thing. What hurts more is saying nothing and acting like their loved one was never there in the first place. Instead, say their loved one’s name. Tell a story about them. But also, be ready to listen when they want to share a memory or story about their loved one.
Respect their time alone.
Holiday traditions can bring up a lot of painful memories and serve as a constant reminder that a loved one is missing. If a grieving person chooses to celebrate the holidays alone this year or to take a trip out of town, respect their wishes. Remind them that you’re always available should they need to talk to someone.
Rather than ask what they need, do something for them.
Oftentimes, grieving people don’t know what they need. Ask them how you can help, and their mind might go completely blank. Instead, take matters into your own hands. Make your signature (freezable) lasagna and see if you can drop it by their house one evening. Send a gift card in the mail. These concrete actions removes the pressure of decision-making during a time when decision fatigue often sets in.