- by Kate Bowman
- April 14, 2022
Holidays are meant to bring together the people we love but for those who have recently lost a loved one, or who lost a loved one around Easter time, this can bring up big feelings.
Performing old family rituals reminds us of those who are supposed to be there, year after year—and when they can’t be, it hurts.
No matter what time of the year a loved one passes, the grieving process is still a tumultuous roller coaster ride of emotions. However, grief around the holidays can feel particularly lonely.
For many, Easter is filled with large dinners and family festivities. When a loved one passes away, it’s almost impossible to ignore the empty seat at the table.
Many of us struggle to find ways to help and support people grieving. We want to help, but we often don’t know where to start. We are afraid of doing the wrong thing, so we end up doing nothing at all. Here are some ways that you can reach out with support:
- Give them the freedom to keep or change traditions as needed. Let go of any expectations and provide a consistent, calming and accepting presence.
- Offer to help with cooking, cleaning, or decorating. These tasks can be simply overwhelming for those who are grieving.
- Offer to help write cards or shop for groceries.
- Invite the person to join you or your family for the holidays. Help plan an exit strategy in case one is needed.
- Ask them what help they need for the holidays and be open to what doesn’t help.
- Respect their need for privacy and solitude.
- Offer to share a cup of coffee or take a relaxing walk.
- Listen to them. Then listen some more. Practice being at ease with whatever emotion they may be feeling.
- Offer to sit with them. Let them know that they are not alone.
When you catch yourself thinking about grieving loved ones this Easter, be sure to reach out to them. Remember that they need your support now more than ever. While you can’t take away the pain of their loss, you can let them know that you care and that you are there for them.
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