It’s not always easy to figure out the best way to help a friend who has lost a loved one. Here’s one phrase to keep in mind though: Honor their needs.
As we enter the fall and winter months and the events and traditions within them, it may be helpful to remember that grief comes at its own pace. While some hope to rush through it and others hope to slow it down, there’s no right way but to let it happen. Here are a few ideas to help you support those in grief.
SUPPORT THEIR HOLIDAY CHOICES
Whether the person who’s grieving has decided to take a vacation, watch movies all day, or do exactly the same thing they have always done, support their choices. Their choices this year may be different and that’s okay.
INVITE, BUT DON’T PUSH
Extend holiday invitations, but let them know that you understand if they aren’t up for it. An invite given with the understanding that they might not make it may be exactly what the person needs.
BE FLEXIBLE BECAUSE PLANS MIGHT CHANGE
When coping with grief, feelings can change quickly. Whether it is a last minute cancellation or a last minute decision to accept a holiday dinner invitation, try to be flexible and understanding. Let your friend know you support the changes that they need to make.
SEND A THOUGHTFUL HOLIDAY CARD
A thoughtful handwritten note acknowledging how tough the holidays can be and sharing a memory can go a long way.
CONSIDER A MEMORIAL GIFT OR DONATION
If you exchange gifts with your friend, there are many beautiful memorial gift ideas out there. You can also make a donation in their loved one’s name/memory to a charity that is important to them.