Grief Support: Helping the Bereaved During the Holidays

By: Ben Anton

The bereaved need the support, encouragement and time of their family and friends during the holiday season to help calm their thought and comfort their souls. The grieving often try to maintain the same level of activity as they have in past years even though they may not be mentally and physically ready to do all of the usual activities – holiday parties, family get-togethers, shopping and meal preparation. These bereaved loved ones need others to help them cope with their feelings during this stressful time in a healthy, less stressful way.

The writers at Valley of Life, an online memorial website, have put together some helpful suggestions for friends and family who have loved ones struggling with grief during the holidays. Being a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to lean on and a strong supporter are the best ways they have found to support the grieving during this time of year.

!b>A Sympathetic Ear
Friends and family should be prepared to listen, truly listen, to the thoughts and concerns of someone who is grieving. Often times, the bereaved simply need to talk through their thoughts in order to begin to feel comfort. If they do ask for your opinion or thoughts, help guide them to talk more about the deceased or their feelings. Remind them of favorite holiday memories of the deceased or ask them what some of their favorite holiday memories are. Remember however not to try to control the conversation. Also, be an honest listener. The bereaved should comfortable with sharing their feelings knowing that the conversation is private and will not be shared without their knowing. Betrayal is a horrible thing to go through while dealing with grief.

A Shoulder To Lean On
If there is someone in your life grieving over the death of a loved one or is just having a hard time spending their first holiday season without their spouse, child or parent, it is important to understand that some extra time spent with that loved one can have a profound affect on them. Though December is a hectic time of year, setting aside a few extra hours to share time with these bereaved souls can help pull them from the lows they are feeling. Plan to do your holiday shopping together or drop by with a movie and take-out one evening. Find creative ways to share the joys of the holidays together without being too stressful or just sit down for a quiet conversation. If needed, offer to help them decorate their home or bring in the Christmas tree. The important thing is that it is enjoyable for you as well as your friend or loved one.

Strong Support
Sometimes the best thing we can do for the grieving is remind them how to live. Many people put their physical well-being on the back burner when depressed or mourning. This neglect can cause further emotional strains as they must then cope with lethargy and weight-gain. Make your friend dinner or declare yourself gym partners in order to keep them motivated to take care of themselves when their grief during the holidays gets them down.

A good support group of friends and family that love provide love, support and general kindness will help make the season a little brighter for the bereaved this holiday season.

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Read the complete article on how friends and family can help the bereaved during the holidays on the Valley of Life site, a virtual memorial and bereavement site for families to share and celebrate a loved one.

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