The loss of a loved one can be hard to deal with during the holidays. While others are in the holiday mood and enjoying the celebrations, dealing with the loss of a loved one during the holiday season can bring a mix of feelings and memories to the surface.
When dealing with the loss of a loved one, denial and isolation can be part of the grieving process. This can happen at any time of year, however, more family members and friends are aware of the situation at holiday time.
There’s often a great deal of anger when loosing a loved one. There’s often anger at the situation causing the death, such as an accident, illness or reasons beyond anyone’s control. This may cause someone to doubt things like religion which can result in not wanting to celebrate holidays.
Depression is an issue for many people at holiday time. Someone who recently lost a loved one or is dealing with spending the holidays without a loved one will often find themselves in a deeper depression with feelings of hopelessness and loss.
While it’s hard to accept the loss of a loved one, there are sometimes when a person will find a way to remember or be ok with the loved one not being present. This is a hard spot for many people to find but when they do, it allows a little happiness and even those positive holiday memories to bring happiness to their holiday season.
If you know someone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, there are things you can do and should do to help them through the holidays.
The holidays can be an extremely busy time. It’s important to take a little extra time to be available and be a good listener to someone that needs to talk about the loss of a loved one. They may need to talk about their feelings or want to reminisce about old memories and good times shared with the loved one no longer with them.
When loosing a loved one, it’s hard to be motivated to get in the holiday spirit much less take care of day to day things. You can help someone who lost a loved one by offering to go do errands and other tasks for them.
Most importantly be patient. When someone losses a loved one there is no time limit on the grieving period. While some people get over things and move on quickly, others don’t. Be sure to be inviting and include them with your plans. If they refuse don’t force the issue, they will come around when it’s appropriate for them.
There are some things you shouldn’t do when dealing with someone who lost a loved one.
It’s never a good idea to pressure them about their feelings, as they will talk when they’re ready. While it’s not a good idea to pressure them, you shouldn’t hold your feelings back about the loved one. If you have positive memories or want to share something that might be comforting, you should do that. It might open the lines of communication.
While you shouldn’t hold back your feelings, it’s a good idea to pick and choose your wording wisely. Refrain from saying things like “it was for the best” of “have another baby” or “maybe they’ll never know the answers”, as all of those things can bring up angry feelings again.
It’s never a good idea to tell someone how to grieve or when to be done grieving. You should always keep in mind that grieving is a process that everyone moves through in different time frames (days, weeks, months or years).
If someone you care about is having a hard time dealing with the loss of a loved one, to the point you feel it’s beyond a normal grieving process or leading to a deep depression they can’t seem to control, offer to go with them to talk to a professional counselor or clergy member.