How Can We Help Those Grieving this Holiday Season?

Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  We all know what that means!  Christmas will, once again, sneak up on us.  Unfortunately, so many of us wish we could just skip over this holiday season.  Why?

It is incredibly sad that many are dreading this holiday season due to the passing of a loved one.  As many of you, I have personally witnessed a number of families struggles through Christmas… holding back the tears while putting a smile on their face as to not affect everyone else’s Christmas holiday.  Through these experiences, this appears to be the biggest obstacle:

People do not know how to react or what to say:  Do we mention how we miss that person who has passed away?  How will that make those grieving feel?  Is it better just to ignore the topic in order to prevent sadness?

This is my personal opinion:  They are already deeply saddened.  There is nothing we can do or say that will make them feel any worse… well, maybe there is… avoiding the topic.  They want to feel as though their loved one’s memory is still very much a part of the holiday season.

As I mentioned, this is my personal opinion due to my unfortunate experiences.  I can very well be wrong.  Please share your feeling or thoughts on this difficult topic.  Perhaps we can make someone’s holiday season a bit less painful.




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7 Responses to “How Can We Help Those Grieving this Holiday Season?”

  • Thank you for this wonderful piece….very touching!

  • I agree. We have a good friend that passed away last year and we can’t believe a whole year has passed. However, I’m certain for her widowed husband, it has dragged. I will definitely send an extra special note to him this Christmas that honors the memory of his late wife.
    Going a slightly different direction, I can personally relate in that I grieve for what once was. My parents have decided for no reason, that it’s not so important to keep in contact with my brother, his family, and my husband and I, despite my efforts to the contrary. This is all year but it especially hits home around the holidays when they are off being with friends and we are often alone, unless we go to visit my husband’s family. (Both families are out of state). This makes me grieve for the way it “should” be as well as holidays gone by in better times. I know there are lots of people out there like this as well. I have since tried to let it go and move on as I have to. This might be worth a mention in the article as well as I know some others that face this situation. Thanks Debbie for doing what you do in bringing awareness to these important issues.

  • Thank you for bringing this difficult topic to our attention. We all struggle with how to respond to another’s grief. Your comment makes a wonderful point not to ignore the person’s grief. Maybe offering a silent hug may do more than anything we could say.

  • Ruth:

    I especially like your site for the gifts that can be sent to those hurting. The hardest time is when the cards stop and the world expects you to go on as usual. After a few months is when a remembrance is so needed and appreciated. God bless you Debbie

  • The calls stop, the letters stop coming and friends you have known for years are uncomfortable around you. Why? Because you have lost a child and their children are still alive and healthy. I am not a fragile doll who will break, if you mention the happy news about a new grandchild being born, or a daughter or son getting married, or even graduating from college. I am okay with all of that, I want to hear the good news. Yes, I lost a part of me, but I sill have my memories and the fact that my child knew he was loved unconditionally. I had to let my friends and family know it’s okay to talk about him, I enjoy listening to the stories. I can find so may things to smile about.

  • I lost my dad last year and there does come a time when people just stop asking how you are doing. I guess I can understand–he was a HUGE part of my life, but not an everyday part of theirs. We talked almost every day. However, I think of him on a daily basis and I actually like when people ask me how things are going. It feels good either way to maybe share that I have been a little down and get it off my chest. It also feels great to reminisce and talk about happy memories of my dad. After all that’s how you keep a lost one’s spirit alive. I miss all the little traditions we shared during the holidays and it hurts me so much that he never got to meet his first granddaughter (I found out I was pregnant a week after he died). So even though every holiday is bittersweet now, I still find ways to smile and laugh by talking about all the wonderful ways my dad affected my life. People deal with these things in their own way though. A private letter, card, or hug is sometimes all someone needs to know you care and that you share sadness for their loss.

  • This is so helpful to hear also what we can do for others who have lost someone. How we can react, what we can do. At some point we are all on both sides. Thank you Debbie.

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