Tag Archive | hope for the holidays

7 TIPS FOR HELPING A GRIEVING LOVED ONE DURING THE HOLIDAYS 

Do you know of someone who is hurting due to the death of a loved one, an illness, divorce, or an unexpected life challenge or crisis?

The holidays are very hectic for most people, but they become extra challenging for those going through grief. When family and friends offer kindness and encouragement, it can make all the difference in the world to those who are hurting.

Whether the person who is grieving is a family member, friend, acquaintance, or neighbor, you have the AMAZING opportunity to offer compassion, support, and HOPE this Christmas season.

Choose to be the BLESSING and compassion today that you will hope to receive tomorrow.

Think about each of these tips, and while you’re reading them, think of who you can bless this week!

Here are 7 practical tips for helping a grieving loved one during the holidays~

1. Offer encouragement to the person who is going through grief by sending them an I’m-thinking-of-you card or a phone call. Whether they lost a loved one a week ago or many years ago, their loved one will always be treasured and missed. The holidays can be a painful reminder of the fact that their loved one is no longer here. If possible, refrain from sending over-the-top cheerful holiday greetings and cards. Instead, send a more peace-filled greeting card with a special heartfelt note.

2. Stay away from cliches such as, “They’re in a better place”, “God needed an angel”, or “God must have needed them more.” Although these statements are intended to make the bereaved one feel better, it will often leave them hurting and frustrated. Try encouraging your loved one with loving words of remembrance such as, “I really miss _____, she/he was a such a wonderful person” or “I remember when we ________.” Reflection on the deceased loved one brings validation to family members left behind that their loved one was important, is missed, and that they are still cared about. Most who have gone through grief still enjoy talking about their loved one. Bringing them up is welcomed by most. You’re not going to hurt them bringing up their loved one…their loved one is already on their heart. Also, at all costs, never say (or even suggest) to someone who is going through grief to “get over it.” That’s worse than all cliches combined.

3. Take the bereaved person a Christmas wreath, cookies, or a Christmas flower arrangement, and while there, maybe offer to do errands for them. A small kindness and helpful gesture goes a very long way in cheering someone up who is going through grief.

4. Invite them to attend your family holiday dinner or Christmas festivities. Sometimes, traditional family dinners can be challenging. If you are a close enough friend, they may welcome an opportunity for a new place and environment to go to for dinner or holiday celebrations.

5. Invite your grieving loved one to a holiday movie, out for coffee, to a Christmas church service, or to go shopping with you. When someone is going through grief, they lose contact with the outside world as they are immersed in their pain. Many times, people do not know what to say to a griever so they avoid seeing someone in grief. Please let them know you care. An invitation will speak volumes of your concern for them.

6. Be patient with those in grief. Life as they once knew it has been drastically altered. It takes time to find a new “normal” and to thoroughly understand the full impact their grief and loss will have. Allow them the time they individually need to grieve. Everybody grieves differently and that’s perfectly fine. Please do not become frustrated with someone who is in grief…trust me, they’re frustrated, too! Support, love, and encourage them.

7. Simply listen and be there. Sometimes, the best thing someone can do for a griever is to give them a hug with the gift of silence and a listening ear, and simply let them know someone truly cares. No words necessary…just truly, genuinely caring and being a good listener. We all desperately want to say the magic words that will comfort loved ones in grief, but there simply are no words that can magically remove their heartache and pain. A trustworthy listening ear is more important than most people realize.

Please consider whose life (and heart) you can make a difference in this week! Think of someone you know who is going through a hard time and then offer them hope and encouragement.

Have a very blessed and meaningful Christmas season!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim 🎄❤️🎄

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

💛For more encouragement:
⭐️
ng peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

⭐️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

⭐️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

⭐️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

⭐️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Gri
s: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
2. Gri
s: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
3. Gr
tes:
t Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
4. Gr
tes:
w Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

Grief & (Post)Holidays—helpful tip #10

Christmas has now come and gone.

Those who are deeply grieving thought they could finally breathe a huge sigh of relief…yet some woke up today and didn’t feel the relief they thought they would feel. Some even woke up and felt worse.

Something I wish someone would’ve told me about the days following a holiday is that some tough emotions can follow along with them.

Today’s holiday tip? Be prepared for the depression, anxiety, and other surprising emotions that can follow Christmas, holidays, anniversaries, and other big life events…and come up with a plan for relaxation and how to best get through those times.

Many grievers will feel relieved that Christmas is now behind them, while others are confused why they now suddenly feel worse.

Emotions are so heightened before holidays, big days, or special occasions —in day-to-day life as well as grief—so after the holiday, event, or big day happens, those feelings can suddenly crash down…leaving you feeling depressed, anxious, a “void,” or defeated more than usual.

Depending on how big the aftermath was, the feelings that accompany big events can take you by surprise and throw you for a loop.

Always be kind to your heart, as well as compassionate and patient with yourself. Realize you’re not alone and what you’re feeling is normal.

Be prepared for crashes, as well as any random feelings, and practice seeking God, peace, and times of relaxation when the feelings become overwhelming.

There are many thoughtful ways to get through the tough emotions of grief, as well as many ways to relax. Try one of these 15 ideas – or creatively come up with your own:

  1. Pray—talk to God and share with Him all of your thoughts, feelings, fears, disappointments, worries, anxieties, heartache, etc
  2. Allow music to comfort your soul—listen to soft praise music and soothing sounds, or anything that relaxes you. Consider playing (or learning how to play) the piano, guitar, or other musical instrument.
  3. Breathe deep and relax—sit quietly, take a hot bath, take a nap, or do something that relaxes your mind. Breathing slow deep breaths can also lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
  4. This one is very important: remind yourself, “it isn’t always going to be like this”—these feelings will not always be as strong or intense. It is very important to remember life can and does get better. It will be different than what it once was…but it can get better.
  5. Call a trustworthy loved one—family, grief support groups, and good friends are so valuable when going through grief. It’s also great to talk to someone who has been through similar grief because they can share wisdom and insight of how they got through their worst days to find better days.
  6. Do an activity that brings joy to your heart—take time to truly enjoy doing a hobby or activity you currently or previously loved to do. You can also learn new hobbies or activities to do.
  7. Cooking and baking can be therapeutic—Invite some loved ones over and cook a delicious relaxing dinner together or bake together, or go out to eat and relax with loved ones as you have a night out. You can also have a quiet afternoon of baking by yourself and then enjoy the treats you baked and pass them out to loved ones.
  8. Sit in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and drink some hot tea, coffee, or hot cocoa—Read the Bible or a good book…something that is encouraging. As you drink your tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, savor this time of relaxation.
  9. Have a mini spa day at home or go out for one—stay home and do a homemade facial, manicure, and pedicure. Or go get a massage, fresh new haircut, or a pedicure at a spa. You could also bring a friend along and go to lunch afterwards.
  10. If the weather is nice, sit on a porch, go on a nature walk, or patio dine, if not, look out the window and enjoy the view—looking outside to relax and reflect on all the ways God has provided for you and carried you, considering the family and friends who have cared about you, and also reflecting on every good thing in your life that has the potential to bring your heart peace and joy…it all has a way of bringing peace to your soul. Sometimes a different outlook becomes much welcomed.
  11. Journal—write down your thoughts, goals, feelings, and life events. Journaling is so very therapeutic. It’s also beneficial to look back one day, read journals you’ve written, and see how you’ve grown – and how much you’ve overcome – and how far you’ve made it.
  12. Exercise or stretch—exercise has been proven to alleviate stress and help depression and anxiety. It also can be very relaxing. It takes your mind off of things for awhile, too.
  13. Organize your home and life—clutter can add to the chaos of grief, so dedicating even 20-30 min a day to decluttering your home and life is well worth the effort.
  14. Enjoy your pet or consider getting a pet—I believe pets are amazing little “heart healers” sent by God. Our family went through a tough grief experience and within a few months, we rescued a puppy. I always looked at our rescue dog and thought, “who rescued who.” Deep consideration should be used when getting a new pet. They’re a 6 to 15 year commitment, and a financial responsibility, so make sure you can handle the time commitment and responsibility of a furry lil friend. To me, they’re totally worth it! There also may be opportunities in your area to volunteer at a pet shelter or to foster pets if you’d like the therapeutic benefits of a pet, but can’t fully commit to a lifelong pet.
  15. Create a Bucket List—I’m a big believer in creating, keeping, and maintaining a bucket list. It helps to focus on the greater picture, as you write down everything you still want to do and achieve, so you purposely don’t waste life. There are many things I was able to do – that I otherwise wouldn’t have done – during times of grief because of goals I wrote in my Bucket List notebook.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you and I hope all of you had a special, meaningful, and blessed Christmas!

Never give up HOPE! Even if things aren’t ideal or good right now, better days are ahead of you. Some of your very best days may not have even happened yet. Hang in there!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2015/2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

©2019 Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

⭐️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

⭐️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

⭐️❤️⭐️

Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #9

Situations of grief can bring you to – and leave you in – a bad place mentally, spiritually, and emotionally if you don’t carefully guard your heart. And the holidays can bring major temptations when going through grief or loss.

Life happens, and sometimes, it’s just seriously unfair.

Since life doesn’t offer an instruction book on grief, many are ill equipped to know what to do with their tough emotions and can then be vulnerable to making poor decisions.

Grief is highly emotional…and illogical. When going through grief or life challenges, you can become desperate to feel better. So, choices made while going through grief can be illogical, too.

Today’s holiday tip: Guard your spirit, heart, thoughts and emotions, and be very careful not to succumb to addictions or to self-medicating your pain.

Addictions come in many forms. The most common addictions are alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs, staying constantly busy so as to not think about your grief as much, accruing massive debt due to over shopping or gambling, extreme dieting or fitness, adultery/sexual addictions, or overeating. There are many other addictions, but these are probably the most common.

Addictions have a way of making you feel temporarily better, yet they always make you pay a much higher price than you’d ever want to pay. It’s like borrowing $5 but then having to pay back $50,000. And you’re not guaranteed the consequences will be easy or immediate…sometimes they’ll show up years later – even affecting future generations.

Addictions and self-medicating will leave you with guilt, regrets, additional brokenness, and compounded grief. They will also prove to be extremely costly and damaging to your family, relationships, and finances.

So how do you feel better?

It’s not easy, but it is absolute truth: embrace your grief, learn every life lesson you can from it, and grow through it.

There just are no good detours to getting through grief. You can’t go around it, over it, under it, or fast forward through it…you have to go through it in God’s timing.

When my son was little, one of his favorite games was Candy Land. He always hated landing on the spot that had the ladder that slid him right back to the very beginning of the game. That’s exactly what addictions will do…slide you right back down a ladder that makes you start all over again in your grief. It’s far better to go through your grief and avoid/prevent any further loss.

Wherever you are at this holiday season, be sure to never foolishly put yourself in a bad situation or an unwise place where it will end up starting, tempting, or feeding an addiction. Surround yourself with good people and only go to wise places where you know you can truly guard your heart and life.

If you’ve already given in to addictions, consider getting help so you can overcome them. Many people in my grief group who have struggled with addictions have attended Celebrate Recovery and have reported wonderful and amazing things. Feel free to check Celebrate Recovery here: http://www.celebraterecovery.com
You can also hear a helpful message about CR from Rick Warren here: http://www.celebraterecovery.com/index.php/about-us/message-from-rick-warren

Going through hurts and needing help is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, getting the encouragement and help you need takes a lot of courage.

I also believe it can be very effective to value the amazing creation God made you to be. I’m a big advocate of pursuing spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional wellness. Scheduling daily time with God and loved ones, scheduling daily time to exercise, relax, self reflect, and making time for personal enrichment are all very important.

Your life is important and so very precious! Seek to make every single day of your life count and always seek ways to better yourself, grow through your grief and struggles, so you are freed up to live a good life.

May everybody enjoy a peaceful Christmas filled with love, wisdom, health, and encouragement!

Gratitude & many blessings,
Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

🎄Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

⭐️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

🎄Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

🎄❤️🎄

Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #8

Today’s post is a tough one…a topic few grievers think about until much later when great damage has been done.

I hope this post will be read with an open heart, with the hope of preventing additional grief, guilt, and regrets.

With the grief experience of losing a treasured loved one, each and every griever has fully earned the right to “check out” of living life fully. And depending on how great the loss was, it is very, very easy to isolate yourself and avoid truly living life—and avoid enjoying remaining loved ones.

Grief is excruciatingly painful, can knock your breath out of you, leave you feeling as though you are “dead yet can’t die”, and can seriously crush your entire life. I truly have a huge heart of compassion for anyone who has to walk the confusing, debilitating, lonely and incredibly painful road of grief…especially around the holidays!

Today, as I was talking to my sister and mom, though, we got on the topic of how grief can impact and wreck not just holidays, but also relationships.

I wanted both of their perspectives on some grief topics since both have experienced extensive grief: my mom has experienced the deaths of her husband, daughter, sibling, parents, and others; my sister has experienced the deaths of two fiancés, our dad, sister, aunt, uncles, and all grandparents. As I’m writing a new book, I cherish and respect their input.

I’ve had two major mother influences in my life…my mom and my grandmother. Both experienced the death of a child – a loss I wish nobody would ever have to experience.

Holidays at my mom’s house and holidays at my grandmother’s home were polar opposite experiences.

Growing up, my grandmother was rarely fully present. Don’t get me wrong, she was a genuinely beautiful and kind soul, was always around us, and we saw her and my grandad every holiday…but she wasn’t “present.” She never made memories with us such as attending our school functions, sporting events, or life events, or doing usual activities such as baking cookies with us, or doing typical traditions such as decorating a Christmas tree, watching movies, or other holiday events. My sweet grandmother just didn’t have it in her to share in holiday joy with us or fully celebrate holidays. She stayed debilitatingly stagnant in her grief to where she was never able to create a “new normal” to enjoy the remaining good memories, remaining loved ones, and all that God, family, and life could have offered her.

By the way, I totally do not blame her. Grief is the worst! The death of a child is tremendously excruciating and tough to navigate through.

…And I don’t feel bad for myself or my siblings that our grandmother wasn’t “present”…I feel badly for all she missed out on and wish I would’ve had the opportunity to know her much better and to have had the opportunity to fully enjoy life and holidays with her. She missed out on a lot, and so did our family since she (understandably) “checked out” of living life. She sadly realized this the year before she died and told me she wished she had known how to “break through her grief” and wished she had “had more faith.”

Right before she passed away, my grandmother eventually became an incredible advocate for the elderly and helped many families. She was finally able to become active in her church and in many nursing homes in the area to use her gift of mercy toward others.

It’s a tough situation to finally choose to use your gifts after the death of a loved one.

My mom made the decision after my sister died, to be “all in” for her grandkids while growing up.

I’ll never know how she had the strength to do so, but she’s given her family the gift of great memories throughout the years. I greatly appreciate and admire my mom for working through her grief. I know it was not easy for her.

Because of my personal experiences, I always try to encourage grievers to fully grieve…absolutely fully grieve…and to be very mindful not to unknowingly create additional or worse grief, guilt, or regrets further down the road.

And doesn’t it suck that a griever even has to think about or deal with these issues whenever they’re already going through so much and are already in excruciating pain?

It unfortunately happens all the time. Very sad, very tough, but very true.

And it isn’t just in one or two families…many are going through the heartache of grief throughout this holiday season.

I received a phone call a few months ago that genuinely broke my heart. The caller had five children and she had lost her second oldest child several years ago. She was so heartbroken over her child’s death that she retreated strongly into her grief (what mother wouldn’t?), and although she truly did not mean to hurt her husband or other children…truly, she didn’t…she explained how her husband and remaining four children had very little to do with her since they felt she basically stopped being a wife and mother to them for about seven years. They all lived in the same house at the time of the death, then each child either moved away or got married, but the remaining kids described not only losing their brother but losing their mom as well. And it was very painful for them.

The husband was at the point of filing for divorce.

As I tried my best to bring hope, reconciliation, and relief to this sweet lady and her family (at the request of this poor mom), it was very, very difficult to get everybody to understand with empathy each other’s point of view.

The mom’s intention was never to not love and celebrate her husband and kids or miss so many life events, but nonetheless, the mom missed out on so much of their lives due to her anguish and grief.

And the kids, they didn’t have the capacity to fully feel empathy towards their mother because none were parents themselves. They didn’t understand the depths of her love and heartache.

The husband and kids needed much more empathy for their hurting wife/mom – and to realize you can’t just “snap out of it” while grieving someone you love and adore…and the wife/mom needed to find a way to show her family they are important to her.

I spent a lot of time helping this precious family who had been shattered by grief.

As my mom, sister, and I were talking about the topic of how to enjoy holidays once again, another situation came to mind.

My sister’s boyfriend had been in the hospital for 11 months after a tragic car accident, but our family had scheduled a family trip. She didn’t know what to choose…staying bedside of her boyfriend or go enjoy her family. It was a very tough choice for her, but she ultimately chose to go on our family vacation. It’s a very good thing she did because our oldest sister died right after we all got back from that trip.

Had my sister not found a balance in her harsh circumstances and grief…AND figured out a way to simultaneously grieve and still live, she would’ve been left with compounded and severe grief, guilt, and regrets from missing out on our very last vacation with our sister.

Today’s tip is: Please be careful not to miss out on making memories with loved ones who are still here, so you do not add further heartache, guilt or regrets to your life later on.

I personally think people should go out of their way to show extravagant grace to those who grieve, especially the first few years. Grievers NEED time to heal and absolutely NEED time and grace to figure out a new normal. It’s very challenging and tough! And if someone hasn’t been through deep grief, they just don’t fully understand.

The greater the love, the greater the grief…and the greater amount of time it takes to heal.

At the same time, I genuinely hate to see grievers go through additional grief due to regrets of not taking the time to love and enjoy their remaining loved ones who are still present.

I’ve seen marriages fall apart, adultery take place, children distancing themselves from their parents, families becoming greatly bitter, and a myriad of other painful scenarios transpire, all due to families not upholding empathy for each other..and not balancing grief.

Each person (and family) has to find their own unique balance. And it usually is a lot of trial and error as they figure it all out together.

It is so important to communicate, love each other, develop and show empathy for each other, and work as a team to figure it all out.

The lady who called me? I was able to help her, her husband, and her children find middle ground, empathy for each other, and some much needed restoration. (I’m thankful they gave me permission to use their story for this post to help others).

But there are many families who aren’t so lucky or blessed. Many marriages (up to 70-90%) and families fall apart and disintegrate due to grief. That’s why it is so incredibly vital to work together as a family to honor a deceased loved one’s life and to find how to still enjoy each other, celebrate with each other, and be genuinely present…in spite of grief attempting to rip families apart.

It’s a very unfair situation all the way around, but it is very important to cherish our remaining loved ones—and eventually celebrate holidays and life with them—as we walk through the storms of life together with our families.

Something my sister said shortly after our sister and her fiancé died made an impact on how I view this topic. Allow these words to powerfully speak to your heart:

Even though I am deeply grieving, the clock is still ticking, and that is why I choose to keep living…purposefully.”

Just to be clear, I am NOT undermining anybody’s pain. I am totally not suggesting that anyone should suck it up or get over their grief…because nobody, in any circumstance, should EVER feel pressure to suck it up or get over a loved one’s death.

You can never “get over” a loved one because love lives on post-death. Grief is debilitating and horrible…and very real. It has no easy fix, it is extremely personal to each one who grieves, and depending on how great the loss was, it can be difficult to find or experience genuine joy again. Very difficult.

The remainder of this week, and especially Christmas Day, please take the time to extravagantly love and enjoy your remaining loved ones. It may be challenging due to excruciating grief and a broken, shattered heart, but I think you’ll be grateful down the road that you did.

Your grief may be very fresh and you may not have it in you to fully do that this year…that is totally okay…just take baby steps. Eventually, the baby steps will add up and significantly prevent future heartache, guilt, or regrets.

I hope every person who is going through grief finds strength, compassion, empathy and understanding from others, and great comfort this holiday season.

May you all honor your grief and deceased treasured loved ones – and also find delight and joy in your remaining loved ones as you make special memories this Christmas season.

If you are frustrated by a loved one who is deeply grieving, please please please give them the gifts of mercy, compassion, love, understanding, and empathy. They’re not only doing the best they can at the moment, but they truly may be just trying to make it not only day by day…but literally minute to minute.

If you are the one who is going through deep grief, please be kind to your heart. I believe if someone has experienced a life-altering grief event, they should receive much empathy to figure out how to personally handle holidays in a way they comfortably can and a “lifetime pass” to honor their loved one throughout holidays. It takes time to truly be able to enjoy holidays and not just go through the motions. I pray you – and your loved ones – give you the gifts of love and patience as you figure it out.

Love each other, pray for each other, help each other, and encourage one another.

Life, remaining loved ones, and holidays are worth celebrating and enjoying in every way we can!

Gratitude, love, and many blessings,
🎄Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

🎄Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

⭐️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

🎄Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

🎄❤️🎄

Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #6

This week, one of my dearest friends inspired me. Last year, her mom passed away 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 my friend and it happened to fall on her sweet mom’s one year anniversary death date.

After offering to reschedule our coffee date, my sweet friend said she still wanted to have coffee at my house.

As we enjoyed having coffee together and catching up, something my friend 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 my friend’s heart so much unexpected 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 few days left until Christmas, we all have these few precious days to remember and honor a loved one in a meaningful, special way. We also have these few days until 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 (or invite them to do the experience with you). 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 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 or verbally share wonderful or funny stories about their parent, you could buy them a gift you think their parent might’ve bought for them, or take them out for dinner.

Just because our loved one(s) died, doesn’t mean we can no longer remember, celebrate, and honor them, and actively love them.

If you don’t feel up to doing any of these ideas, consider doing something more peaceful such as inviting a family member or friend to attend a quiet Christmas service at church

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,
Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

🎄Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

⭐️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

🎄Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

🎄❤️🎄

Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #5

Going through grief during the holidays brings many challenges—seen and unforeseen.

Grief, especially during the Christmas season, can feel like a minefield of the soul. Step left, and you’re okay…but step right, and an explosion of memories and heartache can blow right up in your hurting heart.

Today’s holiday grief tip is: Watch out for, plan for, and be mindful of triggers.

While going through deep grief, there usually isn’t much of a desire to do anything at all, but with a few preparations, many situations that can present further heartache can be pre-planned for, contained, or avoided.

Whether you have experienced the death of a treasured loved one, are going through illness, a divorce, or family conflict, or are going through another heartbreaking loss, grief during the holidays can certainly bite. Grief can bring many unwanted surprises and additional heartache that hasn’t been planned for. It also can be a challenge to balance grief, while also honoring and treasuring remaining loved ones. Hopefully, today’s tip can help prevent further grief so the holidays are more peaceful.

Some people who are deep in grief have the full ability to do all of the usual Christmas traditions and activities they’ve always enjoyed doing…this even brings great comfort to some. For others, doing the usual activities and traditions feel as though their heart is being pierced with an indescribable pain. During grief, triggers can suddenly pop up and hurt very badly – with both scenarios.

Sometimes, there’s a need for a griever to change things up so they can figure out how to enjoy the holidays once again. No choices need to be permanent or “set in stone”…change may be needed just for this year.

No matter which you are experiencing, if you’re needing to change things up or keep things exactly as they are, here’s a list of questions to help you navigate through the holidays (and triggers) as comfortably as possible:

  1. Traditions~ What triggers do you think have the potential to surprise you? Is it putting up your usual ornaments or doing your usual traditions that previously held great sentimental memories? Is it baking your treasured loved one’s favorite recipe or a baked good they loved? Will doing these things trigger feelings of fond remembrance…or will they trigger deeper heartache? Also, consider places that are tied to traditions. For example, if you recently lost a spouse, and you always went to get coffee or a meal together at a specific coffeehouse or restaurant, will you feel comfortable or uncomfortable seeing other couples at the same place? Or if you lost a child, please consider if it will be too hard to go to the mall and see children there with their parents? Sometimes, it is hard for grievers to see all of the joy-filled couples or families while out shopping or dining. Shopping online or getting take-out can truly be a griever’s best friend during the holidays. Consider all of the traditions that you treasure and then decide which you would like to do, and which ones to wait until next year to do.💕
  2. Events~ What events do you feel you could enjoy, and what events might prove to be too painful to attend this year? What events do you think can provide you with feelings of love, encouragement, and hope? What events do you feel may no longer interest you? Events should make you feel better, and definitely not worse. Look out for any events that you feel would simply be too hard to attend this year.
  3. Relationships~ Who has been helpful or encouraging to you in your grief? Are there loved ones in your life who don’t quite understand grief or what you’re going through? Is there anyone in your life who you can ask for extra support this holiday season? Grief, sadly, reveals the depth of majority of a griever’s relationships. Relationships can be a blessing, or they can definitely become challenging during times of grief. Communication can greatly help to prevent confusion and heartache. What if you’re already at a family gathering or a friend’s holiday party and you begin to feel uncomfortable? Sometimes, it can be a necessity to go to a different room at gatherings or events if you’ve tried to communicate with loved ones about your grief, yet they continue to compound your grief and cause further conflict. Ideally, do everything possible to keep and maintain peace, but sometimes, it may be best to distance yourself from additional hurt by preventing relational triggers…and instead, primarily and purposely be around those who will offer you kindness and support at family gatherings or friend events. Avoid conflict, especially with family, as much as possible. And always realize beforehand that emotions can be heightened during times of grief so preparation may be needed. Whatever choices are made, do everything in love.
  4. Usual enjoyments~ There are so many things to savor and enjoy during the holidays…all of the sights, sounds, fragrances, tastes, memories, and joys…but after grief shows up, be prepared that these things can now potentially trigger intense feelings of loss and heartache. What favorite holiday enjoyments could possibly be a trigger for you this year? For example: What Christmas songs can bring sadness this season? You might want to make a playlist that you create to avoid hearing songs that will intensify grief. Think about the things you’ve previously enjoyed and decide which you’ll want to savor and enjoy…or not. There’s nothing wrong with waiting until next year to try to enjoy familiar holiday enjoyments if they prove to be too hard, sad, or daunting this year.
  5. Church~ If you’re used to attending church holiday services, or if you’ve never attended, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so. Christmas services are an amazing experience every year! Be prepared, however, that they may be much more emotional this year. When going through grief, feelings can be very intense. If you’ve allowed God to guide you and encourage you through your grief, attending Christmas services will be a much more meaningful experience for you. After my sister’s fiancé passed away, she was surprised to find that heavy tears surfaced out of nowhere as the church band played. Be prepared for possibly more intense feelings during church services this time of year. If you know you’ll feel uncomfortable attending services, check to see if your church offers online services. Many churches do. Saddleback, Elevation, and Life.Church all have fantastic online Christmas services. Sometimes, it is very helpful to go ahead and attend church in person so you can be around others and not feel so isolated or alone. There is no wrong or right answer, so do whatever brings you and your family the most peace.

Being mindful of triggers definitely doesn’t mean to avoid Christmas activities or enjoying your loved ones this year. There are so many wonderful things about the Christmas season that can bring unimaginable joy to your heart! Just being prepared, as well as a little planning, can ensure a much more relaxed, comfortable, more enjoyable, and peace-filled holiday season.

Wishing everybody love, peace, encouragement, healing ,and HOPE throughout this beautiful season and the new year!

Gratitude & many blessings,

Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. NEW!🎄Experiencing The Holidays With Jesus: Christmas~ http://bible.com/r/3V5

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance

My First Christmas In Heaven

❤️🎄MY FIRST CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN🎄❤️

I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,  

With tiny lights, like Heaven’s stars, reflecting on the snow

The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear. 

For I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs, that people hold so dear,

But the sounds of music can’t compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you, the joy their voices bring, 

For it is beyond description, to hear the angels sing.

I can’t tell you of the splendor, Or the peace here in this place.

Can you just imagine Christmas, with our Savior face to face?

I’ll ask Him to light and comfort your spirit. As I tell Him of your love.

So then pray for one another, As you lift your eyes above.

Please let your heart be joyful, and allow your spirit to sing.

For I’m spending Christmas in Heaven, and I’m walking with the King.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart. 

But I am not so far away, We really aren’t apart.

So be happy for me, dear ones, You know I hold you dear. 

And be glad I’m spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I sent you each a special gift, from my heavenly home above. 

I sent you each a memory of my undying love.

After all, love is a gift more precious than pure gold. 

It was always most important in the stories Jesus told.

Please love and keep each other, just as my Father said to do. 

For I can’t count the blessings or the love He has for each of you.

So have a Merry Christmas and please wipe away that tear,

Remember, I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year!

~Author Unknown

Praying everyone has a Christmas season filled with love, comfort, encouragement, and HOPE!

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

🎄Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): Click here for book

⭐️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: http://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

🎄Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

🎄❤️🎄