The holidays are a time for creating new memories with loved ones, growing in gratitude for sweet blessings and forging deeper relationships. The season is also a time for careful reflection and missing the dearly departed who cannot physically be apart of family-oriented festivities.

For grievers, we paid the price of great love.

We woke up next to them, received a phone call/text, shared a meal, got into a fight with no thought that by the next holiday, they wouldn’t be present with us. The bed feels too big for just one person, and your phone never rings with a message from them, a shared meal with an empty seat at the table, or filled with painful regrets of hurtful words exchanged. You see, the newfound emptiness never leaves, but will gradually change shape throughout your personal grief journey.

If you know someone grieving during the holidays, it’s okay to ask about their loved one. Please respect their wishes. Communication can be difficult, but is absolutely necessary. If they do want to talk about their loved one and you aren’t sure how to continue to conversation, start by asking:

  • What are three words to describe your loved one?
  • What is your favorite memory?
  • Do you have a picture?

You can show you care by the greatest gift. Listening. Eye contact, asking follow up questions and thank them for sharing something special.

If you are grieving, I want you to know that you are not alone. Losing someone close to you can feel like an isolating experience. The whole world continues, when your world stopped. It’s not fair. Your grief journey is your own and will be unique and reflective of your relationship with the dearly departed. Especially, during this time, support is pivotal with healthy coping skills. Unsure where to start, think by these:

  • Create a new tradition to honor your loved one.
  • You aren’t ready or don’t want to talk about it yet? Try writing down your thoughts or talking into a recorder.
  • Dedicate moments of silence.

The holidays are different now. You have to create a new normal. I hope wherever you are in your journey, you find the support and love that you deserve. Here’s to your moments or courage.

I wish you holidays full of joy and remembrance.

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