Say Their Name at Your Gathering
Hello Everyone - I wish you all a wonderful holiday season. This time of year is difficult for many people for many reasons. If you have a grieving friend or family member experiencing their first holiday season, here's an excerpt from my new book, "Talk to Me, I'm Grieving - Supportive Ways to Help Someone Through Grief"
All holidays are exceptionally difficult, especially the first year after a loss - and continue to be difficult for those closest to the lost loved one. When it seems like everyone forgot that you’re missing someone significant, it hurts. Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, the 4th of July, are never the same again. It magnifies the loss when the whole family gathers, but your loved one is missing.
My family rarely brings up Keven, but I’m training them to know I want them to. The first year I was so hurt by this, but realized they probably thought it would upset me, so I bring him up every time we were together. I’m hoping this opens the door for his cousins to talk about him more. If someone brings the person up, take that as a sign to keep the conversation going for a while by talking about happy memories.
Of course, everyone is different, and you may know for a fact that some people are not comfortable talking about their loved one - but most of us long for it.
What should you say on these occasions? Acknowledge the missing person with an upbeat memory, “Grandpa used to love carving the turkey,” “Mom’s baking was the best she made the best pies ever.” “Remember how excited he used to get to watch fireworks?” “She gave the greatest gifts.”
The simple expression “I miss him/her too” soothes the grieving person’s broken heart. This comforts the griever and hopefully will loosen up any tension felt about the obvious empty chair at the table. Some families continue setting a place at the table for the missing person. If you host a holiday, try to find out if that would bring comfort or tears.
The above is still in "first draft" but hopefully it will help someone. Everyone is different but from the people I've talked to, I've yet to meet someone who doesn't want their loved one brought up at a family gathering.
As for me, this will be a quiet Christmas and I'm fine with that.