We all have an idea of how to deal with people who are grieving a loved one, however, frequently, less is more. Rather than rushing in gung -ho, sometimes it is far more appropriate to hold back a little, support what ever they do, and just be there when they want you.
Of course, there is no blue-print, no script for this, as nobody knows fully the experiences which the grieving have experienced (we may think we do, but truly, we do not).
The attached article goes into 8 tips for supporting a grieving friend over the Christmas period, and these apply pretty much throughout the year. My own community has been completely sideswiped by a huge loss over the past week, and I hope that some of these tips can make life easier for anyone concerned.
Please read the attached article for the full insights, the key tips are :
1. Support their choices - what ever is right for them at the time is right for them
2. Invite, don't push them - let them feel wanted, but don't force them
3. Be prepared, their plans might change - tomorrow may be a grey day, or a very dark day, so if they need to cancel, don't be offended - just support their decision
4. Send a thoughtful card - DO NOT send a card (as I heard of recently) with 'have a magical Christmas' printed inside - be sensitive
6. Offer practical help and support - in what ever way you can, and be specific
7. Listen without minimizing, judging or giving advice - probably the most important one of all. You haven't walked in their shoes, so don't pretend you know exactly what they are feeling.
8. Remember next year - Grief doesn't just impact on the first Christmas or anniversary.
Just remember, be kind, sensitive, listen and understand. Feeling belong to the beholder, especially sensitive ones at this time of year.
Most people don’t intentionally set out to be unsupportive of their grieving family and friends. We know you may disagree, but let’s be generous and give people the benefit of the doubt. It is the holiday season after all.