How to Support Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One During the Holidays

If you’ve lost a loved one, you understand that “big days” like the upcoming holidays can be especially difficult. You also understand how important it is to receive support from those around you.

HolidaySupport-Nov2020At Farenga Funeral Home, we help those in our Queens and Astoria communities navigate grift every day, and we see the impact these challenging emotions have on the families we serve. Here are a few ways to support someone through the holidays who has lost a loved one.

Instead of asking for what they need, make specific offers

Sometimes it’s a struggle to ask for help when we really need it. Instead of asking a friend, “What can I do for you?” simply tell them what you’re doing for them. Here are some examples:

  • “I’m bringing dinner next week. What day works best for you?”
  • “What day is best for me to clean your house?”
  • “I’m going to the store. What do you need?”

A simple gesture or two truly goes a long way when someone is struggling to make it through the holidays.

Listen to what they have to say

As difficult as it can be for some, talking through our thoughts and feelings helps us feel lighter and better about almost any situation. When you’re speaking with someone who has suffered a recent loss, this is the time to really absorb what they’re saying. You can, of course, contribute to the conversation, but actively listening to the stories and memories they’re sharing will help them heal.

Even if they aren’t talking about anything specific, it’s absolutely okay to say, “I don’t know what to say, but I’m here to support and listen to you.”

Find a way to pay tribute during the holidays

Sharing stories and memories of a loved one helps the healing process. You could also hold a  candlelight ceremony, make a toast in their name, or prepare one of their favorite dishes for the big holiday dinner.

Support their holiday plans, but know they might change

If you’re used to having the family at your house, the person who is grieving might not be up for it this year. Whether they decide to stay in and watch movies all day, fly across the country, or volunteer at a local food bank, offer your support regardless.

With this in mind, know their plans might change last minute. Try to be flexible and understanding..

Grief doesn’t disappear after the first holiday season

Once you lose someone you love, grief becomes a part of who you are. Expecting someone to “overcome” grief after the first holiday season simply won’t happen. Sure, the holidays get easier over time, but certain aspects of grief, and life in general, will remain difficult. Try to keep this in mind when supporting a grieving person through the holidays.

We’re here for you

If you need advice on how to support someone during this difficult time in their life, you can always reach out to the staff here at Farenga Funeral Home. We’re experts, and we want our community to benefit from our  support. You can also read through our aftercare resources on our website.