Tag Archive | Thanksgiving

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, family conflict, 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, fellow church member, coworker, acquaintance, or neighbor, you have the AMAZING opportunity to offer compassion, support, and HOPE this holiday season.

Choose to be a BLESSING!

Think about each of these tips, and while you’re reading them, think of who you can bless – starting 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 if their loss is recent. 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 grieving 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 their loved one up is welcomed by most. You’re not going to hurt them by 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 Christmas church service, family holiday dinner, or join in your Christmas festivities. Peace, comfort, encouragement, and loving relationships are important to offer to the bereaved during the holidays. A griever may want to attend church, but may not have anyone to attend with. Sometimes, traditional family dinners can be challenging too. If you are a close enough family member or friend, they may welcome an opportunity for a new place and environment to go to for church, dinner, or holiday celebrations.

5. Invite your grieving loved one to a holiday movie, out for coffee, to a Christmas church service, to see The Nutcracker, to dinner, 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 someone who is going through grief so they avoid seeing them altogether. Please let them know you care. An invitation will speak volumes of your love and concern for them.

6. Be patient with those in grief. Life as they once knew it has drastically changed. 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 be truly, genuinely caring and be 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 holiday 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:
⭐️ <u
p://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): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617

⭐️FREE YouVersion reading plan:

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

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Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #3

Today’s tip: It is totally okay to remember and honor your treasured loved one.

After losing a loved one, so many questions come to mind…

  • How am I going to make it through this holiday season without my loved one?”
  • “Is it okay to remember my loved one or talk about them during the holidays?”
  • “How do I go about remembering and honoring my loved one throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas?

There’s nothing more painful about the holidays than to lose a treasured loved one and no longer have them with you (or experience devastating loss); yet try to salvage the holiday season by creating a meaningful Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The memories from Christmases past were some of the best memories a griever has experienced in life, but now the realization of a loved one not having the ability to enjoy the holidays is quite a bit to deal with.

It can be a balancing act for a griever to authentically grieve, and remember their deceased treasured loved one(s), while also creating meaningful memories with their loved ones who are still present—it’s a balance all grievers will need to decide and create for themselves and their own family. 

Grief is such a personal experience. Each griever needs to grieve in a way that is comfortable to them. It takes time to create a “new normal”…and this includes holidays, too.

 Be kind to yourself and those closest to you, and do what you (and your family) need to do to get through the holidays. You may feel like doing a little, a lot, or not much at all. 

If you feel like remembering and honoring your treasured loved ones, then absolutely do! You loved them so much while they were with you…and your love is still great for them today! Never apologize, or feel bad, for remembering or honoring those you love…deceased or living!

Ask God to guide and direct you throughout your grief, to comfort you, and to give you fresh ideas of how to create a meaningful holiday season.

Here are 10 ideas for remembering & honoring your cherished loved one this holiday season:

  1. Think of your loved one’s favorite holiday tradition and then do that tradition in their honor. You may even choose to invite your loved one’s closest family members and friends to do the tradition with you.
  2. Light a memory candle in honor of your loved one. You can share with others what your special candle signifies, or you can tuck the special meaning privately in your heart.
  3. Place a treasured photo in a special picture frame and place it out for all to see.
  4. Do an activity (if you feel ready and comfortable) that you and your loved one specifically enjoyed doing together. My sister and I loved baking together, so throughout the years, I have hosted a “cookie party” and baked in her memory. I pass out the treats to family, good friends, and those who I know need encouragement.
  5. If certain Christmas songs remind you of your loved one, make a playlist of those songs and listen to them when you miss your loved one most. The first few years after my sister died, it was very painful to hear certain songs, especially Feliz Navidad—her favorite. Now when it comes on, I take it as a loving reminder of how important my sister was to me…I think of it as my sister’s way of saying, “hello,” and a way of my sister being a part of my holidays.
  6. Share and exchange past special holiday memories of your loved one with understanding family members and close friends. Don’t forget to share funny stories, too!
  7. Make a scrapbook, including important mementos, special stories, and treasured photos of your loved one. Feel free to write your loved one a letter and tuck it somewhere safe inside the scrapbook. 
  8. Donate a special gift, participate in Angel Tree, or volunteer your time or make a donation to your loved one’s favorite charity, in your loved one’s name and honor.
  9. Watch old home videos or enjoy special photos of your loved one. These truly can eventually be a great source of comfort.
  10. Light the Christmas tree, turn out the lights, play some soft Christmas music, get some hot chocolate, and have a special time with God, pouring your heart out to Him. Talk to Him about your treasured loved one, your remaining loved ones, your hurts, concerns, and cares, and everything else that is on your heart and mind.

Holidays can be a very challenging and sad time after the death of a loved one (or while going through loss or life challenges). I hope these 10 ideas are a source of comfort, help, and encouragement to you this holiday season.

Praying all who are hurting will find genuine compassion, support, and encouragement!

Gratitude and 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

Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com/about/ (click “menu” for navigating blog & website)

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

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617&nbsp;

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&nbsp;

3. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed&nbsp;

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

Grief & Holidays—helpful tip #2

Everyone dreams of having the most wonderful, pie-in-the-sky-high, beautiful, and memorable Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

The reality for many is presently not so beautiful, memorable or wonderful though…

  • some have lost a treasured loved one and are deeply missing them
  • some are going through a divorce, adultery issues, or extreme marital conflict
  • some are going through intense family or extended family conflict
  • some have a spouse or a child who is incarcerated
  • some are experiencing “blended” family challenges
  • some are estranged from a parent, child, sibling, or other family member
  • some are going through financial devastation or hardships
  • some are experiencing a serious illness or the illness of a loved one
  • some have lost a precious child through death or a miscarriage 
  • some have a spouse, child, or family member away in the military, or who does mission work, or travels longterm for work
  • some have major in-law issues or a difficult family member
  • some recently broke up with a fiance or significant other 
  • or some are experiencing other major grief experiences or life challenges

There are many who are hurting, so the holidays turn from being a joyful time of great expectation into being a dreaded time of devastation.

My holiday tip today is:

Grieve the loss of not being able to enjoy the holidays how you once knew them, or how you wish they could be. You are NOT selfish for missing someone or mourning the fact that holidays are a sad time for you.

Holidays can be very challenging when life is painful or chaotic, or especially after experiencing a major loss. When life knocks the breath out of you, it sometimes becomes necessary to learn how to breathe again…and that may include learning how to navigate through the holidays after a major loss has taken place.

You may not feel like the cheeriest elf on the block…and that’s totally okay. It takes time to experience happiness and joy after life devastates you.

Even through thick grief, we truly have the ability to create meaningful holidays, though. They might not hold the same joy you once knew, but they can be special and meaningful once again…even as you honor your grief.

The next tips I share in my next blog post will share specific ideas on how to navigate through the holidays during times of grief, yet still create a meaningful holiday season.

Praying right now for everybody who is going through trials, challenges, conflicts, and grief. I’m genuinely sorry for your heartache!

May you all create and have a peaceful, meaningful, special holiday season filled with memorable moments.

Gratitude & blessings,

Kim

©2015 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.

❤️

For more encouragement~

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

Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (book): http://www.barnesandnoble.com/mobile/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617&nbsp;

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&nbsp;

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

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

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