This week, one of my dearest friends inspired me. Dianne’s mom passed away last year from a battle with cancer and this week held the one year anniversary date of her mother’s Homegoing.
Every griever knows how incredibly painful the “firsts” of grief are. Especially the anniversary of the death date, as well as the holidays.
I hosted a special holiday coffee at my house for Dianne and a few of our “coffee” friends (we’ve been meeting together the past year to pray for each other and each other’s families) and it happened to fall on Dianne’s sweet mom’s one year anniversary death date.
After offering to reschedule our coffee date, Dianne said she wanted me to still have coffee at my house.
As we enjoyed having coffee together and catching up, something Dianne said deeply inspired me…she said, “Today is a painful day, but I’m going to spend the day doing things in my mom’s honor”—then she said, “I’m actually looking forward to it!”
The first thing she did was pay the bill for the car behind her at a drive thru. She told the cashier to share with the person how today was the first anniversary of her mom’s death and she was paying the tab in her mother’s honor. It genuinely brought Dianne’s heart joy.
My helpful holiday tip for today is: Look for ways you can honor, celebrate, and remember your loved one by being a blessing to others.
The Christmas season is now in full swing! With one week left until Christmas, we all have 7 days to remember and honor a loved one in a meaningful, special way. We also have one week before Christmas to be an extra blessing to our family, friends, and even anonymously to strangers.
During this week, consider doing something special in memory of your loved one or for others:
1. Plant a tree in your loved one’s memory to honor them. You can also choose to decorate the tree with lights and Christmas decorations in the years to come. If buying and planting a tree isn’t feasible, how about decorating your loved one’s grave? Or purchase a small tabletop artificial Christmas tree to decorate in your loved one’s honor and then bless someone with it? You can also purchase an identical 2nd tree for your own home to decorate in your loved one’s honor, too!
2. Anonymously pay for the person’s order behind you if you’re in a drive thru or at a restaurant. You can also tell the cashier/waitress to tell the person you’re doing this in honor of your loved one.
3. Make a donation to a local or national charity in their name. Maybe your loved one had a favorite charity you can donate to.
4. Bake your loved one’s favorite treats or make up a fruit basket and give it to someone you know who is discouraged or going through grief. The baked treats can be store bought, too!
5. Buy a gift you would’ve bought your loved one and then bless one of their favorite family members or friends with the gift.
6. Think of an activity your loved one enjoyed doing while they were alive, and then give that experience as a gift to someone else. You can also give away an experience they wanted to do but never were able to. Was there something they wanted to do for Christmas or somewhere they wanted to go but never had the chance?
I know a lady who gave a brand new skateboard to her nephew in honor of her son who loved extreme sports.
I have a very dear friend in my grief group who had planned to take his wife to a new movie theater. He gave my husband and me a gift certificate to the movie theater and shared his story about how he and his wife planned to go there and told us to enjoy our gift in their honor. His gift meant so very much to me!
7. Continue to shop for your loved one and donate the gifts to whoever God places on your heart. For example: If you had a precious child who died, consider buying your child the toys/gifts you normally would have given them, then give those gifts to a child who is in need through the Salvation Army or Angel Tree. You can also give them to a family member or friend, too. I still buy a gift for my sister and give it anonymously to someone every year.
8. Anonymously pre-pay for someone’s gas at the gas station. Go to the attendant and buy a gift card with cash, explain what you’re doing, and tell them to give the gas gift card to the next person who looks like they could use it or to someone who may need cheering up.
9. If you know of someone who is going through grief, consider being their “Secret Santa.” Send them a gift card to your loved one’s favorite restaurant, buy and send them your loved one’s favorite book or CD (or other small gift) with a note telling them they’re cared about.
10. If your loved one left behind children, consider doing something special for them. You could write them a nice card sharing wonderful or funny stories about their parent, you could buy them a gift that you think their parent might’ve bought for them, or simply take them and their remaining parent out for dinner.
Just because our loved ones died, doesn’t mean we can no longer celebrate them, honor them, and actively love them.
Think of something you can do today to include your loved one’s precious memory into your holiday traditions!
Some will very much enjoy doing these things while others may not. If you don’t feel up to doing any of these ideas, then do not force yourself to do them. Grief takes time and everybody grieves differently. Always be kind to yourself!❤️
Praying for all who are struggling and hurting today! I’m truly sorry for your heartache. May these tips bring your heart comfort, joy, peace, and HOPE!
Gratitude & many blessings,
©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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For more encouragement:
🎄Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net
⭐️Follow Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com
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⭐️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
2. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
3. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
4. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
🎄Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book that shares tips on grief with a chapter dedicated to traditions, grief, and holidays): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617