Sponsored By: McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation
If you have a friend who’s recently lost a loved one, this first holiday season may be different than years past. They may have a hard time keeping holiday traditions. This could also lead them to spend more time alone instead of attending social functions.
What is your role as their friend? If your friend has had a significant loss, leading to a disruption in their family structure, your friendship will be important in helping create a sense of “normalcy.”
After any loss, our world can look, feel and appear very different than it was. During this time, it is important to have “breaks” in our grief – periods of time that allow us to feel normal. As a friend, you can help provide that much-needed break.
Here are 5 additional ways you can help support your friend during the holidays.
1. Just be there.
Your friend may simply need a hug, a listening ear or a shoulder to cry on. Check in regularly to let her know you’re available for a cup of coffee and ready to listen to whatever is on her mind. Don’t get discouraged if she doesn’t respond right away to your offers for support, she does appreciate your efforts so keep trying!
2. Encourage your friend to get out during the season.
Social gatherings may be intimidating for someone who has recently experienced a loss. It is normal for your friend to decline social events and express needing time alone. However, you should keep in touch with your friend to make sure they are not completely isolating themselves. Try planning a low-key group outing to shop or go to the movies.
3. Help your friend sort through those holiday traditions.
He or she may not feel up to doing all the decorating, baking or shopping they did in years past. And that’s OK. You can help them find just one or two meaningful traditions – maybe a special ornament or treasured cookie recipe – that will allow them to remember their spouse, parent or child who has passed away.
4. Offer to help with daily tasks.
Unfortunately, while our world may end after a loss, life does not stop. At some point, your friend will have to return to their daily routine of responsibilities and their every day tasks can feel much more burdensome now. You can help them by bringing a cooked meal, offering to pick up groceries, doing yard work or driving their child to an activity.
5. Be empathetic and understanding.
Grief looks different for everyone. While you may not be able to completely understand what your friend is going through, you can show empathy and patience by allowing them time and space to grieve. Continue to reach out with compassion and try not to take it personally if your friend doesn’t respond as usual – healing takes time.
Grief can be compounded during the holidays as the joy of the season reminds us of what we have lost, not what we have to gain. There are many ways to help a grieving friend be reminded of the gifts they have. By performing acts of service and providing a listening ear, you can help your friend heal through the holidays and beyond.
Since 1886, McAlister-Smith Funeral & Cremation has been providing personal and caring services, placing a particular emphasis on the importance of family. McAlister-Smith has four convenient locations to serve families throughout the Lowcountry, including West Ashley, Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek and James Island.
For more information about the grieving process, visit McAlister-Smith.com or call (843) 722-8371.
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