At the time in our life when we need people the most – following the death of someone we love – most of us feel abandoned. When people should be rushing in to hold us, support us, accompany us, and love us, most run in the opposite direction or at best are paralyzed, not certain what to do.
Most want to help. They simply don’t know how. I sugggest that you copy the list below and give it, with love, to the people who love you.
Ten Things You Can Do to Help Make This Holiday Season More Bearable for Me, As I’m Learning to Live With the Death of a Loved Person.
1) Please mention the person I love by name. I’m already sad…nothing you can do will make me sadder…unless I think you have completely forgotten the person I love.
2) Extend an invitation. And another. And then another. Sooner or later, I will say yes. Don’t abandon me. I often already feel abandoned and alone.
3) Realize that, at times, I don’t really know what I want to do for the holidays. Some days, it changes hour to hour. Be flexible and patient. Accompany me as best you can. Let me take the lead. Don’t force me to do anything. Don’t make me feel guilty. I’m doing the best I can. I know you are, too.
4) Offer to bring me to Holiday Church services. Again, be flexible. I may change my mind again and again.
5) When you send me a holiday card, write a note. Mention my loved one by name. Share your favorite memory or story.
6) Search through your photos and videotape. Find a picture of the person who has died and mail it to me. Better yet, deliver it to me in person.
7) Remember – you don’t know how I feel. But you can ask me – “What is it like to be you today?” After you ask, make sure you set aside time to LISTEN!
8) Expect me to cry. It’s okay and healthy. You can cry, too. Crying helps us heal. Crying together validates our feelings.
9) Don’t work too hard at trying to “cheer me up.” It’s okay to be sad. Do spend time with me, though. Let me talk. Or we can sit in silence.
10) Don’t forget to bring over a home-cooked meal and some cookies. Love comes in many forms.