“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” J.R.R. Tolkien – “Return of the King”
Writing, talking and especially going through a period of grief is a sad topic. People don’t want to experience the pain, they don’t know how to help others who are grieving, and the whole experience makes them uncomfortable.
However, the holidays are especially hard for those who have lost a loved one. It is an in-your-face reminder that they are not there. That you will be trying to celebrate and act normally when all you want to do is hide away in bed with the covers over your face.
This is when your friend or family member needs you most. Even if you just sit around in their house it will be comforting to them to know they are not alone in their grief. Others need a hug, a big strong bear hug that they can cling to since their world has just spun out of control.
Other things you can do is run errands, do their shopping, fix meals, clean house, just the daily things that will help them find their way back to the world they once knew. And when the holidays come be prepared to listen, don’t push. If they don’t want a tree, a party, can’t manage a Christmas party, let them be. Do NOT force the grieving person to try and celebrate the holidays as it will only serve as a physical reminder of their lost ones.
Other don’ts include: don’t tell them that it is time to get over it. Every person grieves in a different way. Along with that don’t say you know how they feel. Even if you have lost a loved one, your grief process will be different and you cannot know how they feel. If they are still grieving let them grieve in peace. Don’t ask them how they are doing as it is just a reminder that something is wrong. For those of faith do not say God had a reason for this, or s/he is in a better place, or even worse God needed another angel. Other don’ts include you have to be strong for the rest of your family or God never gives us more than we can handle.
The truth is that God didn’t cause the lost of your loved one. Maybe a drunk driver did, maybe the person’s own bad habit’s did, maybe there was no reason for a child to get inoperable brain cancer. But one thing I know is true, God didn’t do it. The Enemy aka Satan, Lucifer, the Devil has temporary charge over this world and he came “kill, steal and destroy” John 10:10 KJV. He is: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” 1Peter 5:8b
No matter the cause, no matter the time, the grieving person needs to be allowed to grieve the way that comforts them most. You can help by anticipating what they might need, i.e. groceries, a meal, dishes washed, etc. Educate others about how to help the grieving person, and most of all just be there for them.
I know from personal experience that just having someone in the house, even though I laid in bed hiding for three-four weeks was so comforting because I felt so alone when my husband died this past January. This person anticipated what I needed and just did it. They stayed with me night and day and I couldn’t have survived that first month without her.
Sometimes a shoulder to cry on is the best gift you can give to anybody that is hurting.
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
Charles Dickens, “Great Expectations”