Mourning During the Holidays
-- "May I come visit with you during this holiday?"
-- "I'd love to hear stories about Sam."
Well-thought-out words can soothe wounded hearts. Notice I said "soothe" and not "heal"? You can't "fix" anyone's grief, but you can offer consoling support that doesn't deepen the pain. When talking about the holidays with the newly bereaved, be thoughtful and deliberate in your choice of words:
-- Plan to commemorate instead of celebrate.
-- Invite grieving friends to a gathering rather than a party.
-- Acknowledge awareness of your friends' ongoing grief rather than assuming they should feel a certain way.
-- Avoid "at least" statements, which diminish the importance and impact of mourners' losses.
Please keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers as we enter our first holiday season without Sam. God Bless All. -- From a Grieving Father
Dear Grieving Father: I am so sorry for your loss, and I want to thank you for putting together these beautiful and thoughtful suggestions for other people who have friends who have experienced losses and are in mourning.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book -- featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette -- is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to firstname.lastname@example.org.