In general, the best way to help those who are grieving during the holidays is to let them know you care. They need to be remembered, and they need to know their loved ones are remembered, too.
2) Don't obsess over saying the right thing – Far too often we don't reach out to people who've experienced loss because we're convinced that wrong words will cause more pain. But not reaching out at all can be equally or even more hurtful. An email, text message, letter, or greeting that acknowledges their loss and asks how they're doing can make all the difference.
3) Keep your gestures simple – Remember, helping is not about you or accolades that you may receive. It is about being the expression of God’s love. Little is much when God is in it.
4) Pray and ask God what simple part you can have in expressing God’s love to them – They may need help with basic household chores or may just need a friend to check up on them. God knows their needs and often uses people like you to bring comfort and encouragement in times of need
5) Don't force someone to enjoy the holidays – Supporting someone who is coping with tragedy or loss during this time of year doesn't mean trying to make them feel full of holiday cheer. Instead, your goal should be to accept whatever holiday experience they want. No Christmas tree for them? Fine. Do they want to skip religious services this year? OK. The best thing you can do is follow your loved one's lead.
6) Cherish the old memories and create new ones – Sweeping statements or talking in broad strokes about someone else's pain probably won't help. What will provide comfort is your willingness to cherish old memories and create new ones with them. Focus on small moments where you can genuinely connect, rather than looking for opportunities to talk them out of their grief.
7) Give them the gift of being present – Words are good. Cards are encouraging. Gifts are appreciated. But what often is needed is someone to just be there. Your calm and unhurried presences helps them live in the moment, to experience reality. It also opens the door for a meaningful listening opportunity. Sometimes grieving people just need to release what is in their hearts to a loving and patient ear. Be present just to listen.
8) Be ready to listen – If they want to talk about the deceased loved one or feelings associated with the loss, LISTEN. Active listening from friends is an important step to helping him or her heal. Don’t worry about being conversational…. just listen.
9) Be supportive – Be supportive of the way the person chooses to handle the holidays. Some may wish to follow traditions; others may choose to change their rituals. Remember, there is no right way or wrong way to handle the holidays, as long as it is not illegal, immoral, or harmful to them or others.
10) Invite the person to attend a religious service with you and your family – It is often hard for a grieving individual to do things alone. A supportive and encouraging friend could be just the thing they need to face the world a little at a time.
11) Never tell someone that they should be “over it” – Instead, give the person hope that, eventually, they will enjoy the holidays again.
12) Remember with them – Remind the person you are thinking of them and the loved one they lost. Cards, phone calls, and visits are great ways to stay in touch. Don’t be afraid to say the loved one’s name.
13) pray for them and with them –
Bring them to the God of all comfort so that they may find grace and mercy to help in their time of need.
14) Remind them of the comfort of God’s Word –
In the multitude of the anxiety within them God’s comfort can delight their soul. Psalm 94:19
Refreshing Mercies Ministries:
Website - RefreshingMercies.org
Phone - (309) 713-6261
Peoria Rescue Ministries:
Website - PeoriaRescue.org
Phone - (309) 676-6416