I remember the first holiday after my mom died like it was yesterday. It was probably one of the most emotional times in my life. It was also a time I dreaded greatly. I was not in the holiday spirit. I did not want to be around anyone. Actually, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and be alone and wait for this to be over.
For someone who is grieving, the holidays aren’t the same as they were before this person died. Instead, they are days they’re just trying to survive, get through, and trying to move forward from.
They aren’t excited about the holidays this year. They aren’t in the “holiday spirit”.
This year is just a reminder of the person they love who is missing.
Be patient with them.
Don’t get upset if they don’t seem happy to see you. Honestly, they aren’t very happy in general right now. It was hard enough for them to get out of bed, show up and be present.
Don’t be mad they didn’t bring anything. They were barely able to bring themselves.
Don’t pressure them to talk about things they don’t want to. Everyone deals with grief in their own way. Just because the right answer for you may be to talk about the person you miss, they might not be ready.
If they do want to talk, listen. Let them talk about this person like they are still here. Let them tell stories. Help them to feel comfortable talking about this person. Try to normalize it.
They might cry. I know it’s easy to feel uncomfortable around others crying. Try to just be there and help them feel like it is a safe place for them to do this.
There often isn’t a “right” thing to say to someone who just lost someone they love. The best thing you can do for them is to follow their lead for whatever they may need on these very difficult days.
These days aren’t the same for someone who is grieving. Be kind.
Originally published on the author’s blog
Grief is messy and can feel so lonely. It’s OK That You’re Not OK is a great read for anyone who is grieving or supporting a loved one through grief. Don’t have time to read? You can listen here, on Audible.
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