Leigh Harris MS, LPC, NCC, CCTP • Contact Leigh
Chances are you know someone who is grieving this holiday season. Grieving the loss of a loved one is hard every day, but during the holidays it’s especially hard. The emphasis on being with loved ones and family gatherings, holiday celebrations, the memories of past holidays, even the sentiments of merry and joy can all create more pain for those grieving the loss of a loved one. The holidays can be anything but happy for a lot of people. After the loss of my husband, Ted, the thought of holidays and especially Christmas sometimes feels overwhelming to me and I want to run far away and wake up in January.
While loss is universal, grief is very individual. Even when family members are grieving the same person, their experience of the loss is unique to them. We can inadvertently add to people’s pain by comparing it, discounting it, “shoulding” it, rationalizing it, ignoring it. We may do this because we’re uncomfortable with pain, and judgments help to create a safe distance from it. People grieving are already walking a hard path. Don’t make it harder by making it their job for you to feel better. Even if you don’t know what to say, it’s okay to say that. Sometimes words are inadequate in expressing our emotions. Being present and accepting of another’s pain is a priceless gift.
Read on for additional tips for being with folks who are grieving, here on a Huffington Post piece.
Wishing you peace,