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Help Grieving Loved Ones Through the Holidays

The holidays can be a time of joy and celebration for most but for those mourning the loss of a loved one this can be a particularly challenging time.  Whether it be a spouse, a child, a parent or friend, losing a loved one is very painful and having a strong support system is crucial.  I stumbled upon a very helpful Tweet on the New York Life Twitter account which links to a checklist of what you can do for loved ones grieving a loss to help them through the holidays.

The main focus of the article on BosPlace.org is on the importance of intentionality.  When a family plans for a special day and it's talked about ahead of time the day can become manageable.  The emotions and energy of the day can be dispersed over a period of time instead of concentrated on one milestone day.  This can be true for holidays, birthdays, and death anniversaries.

Planning ahead and including everyone can be very powerful.  Begin the conversation in advance to allow close family members to process what this day will mean and entail.  The planning should not be a one time conversation, but an ongoing discussion.  Be sure all participants are given the chance to give input and ask questions.  Make a specific plan and stick to it.  Remember that each family member will be at a different stage in the grieving process so be sure to respect everyone's expression of grief.  If someone does not want to participate respect this and let them know there is no pressure.  Everyone moves on at their own pace and this is important to keep in mind throughout the entire season.

This time of year can be tough if you've recently lost someone close to you, but remember the person died, not your love for them.  Taking the time to acknowledge their life at a celebratory time can mean so much to all family members.  Grief can truly take everyone out of you and it makes sense that you may not have the emotional energy to have the same holiday season.  Recognize this is ok and take everything one day at a time.  For more detailed advice on how to handle this sensitive subject visit Bo' Place which is a bereavement center offering grief support to children ages 3-18.

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