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FDAK Newsletter 11/03/17

 

A Guide to Holiday Grief for Your Families

Source: Frazer Consultants, Fall 2017, Issue 1

The holiday season can be a busy time for a funeral director, and one of the most emotional times for the families they serve. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on grief during the holidays for you to share with your families.

Many families will feel the full effects of their loss for the first time during the holidays.  They are having their first Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, etc. without a loved one - their mom or dad, husband or wife, brother or sister, friend, etc.  When the holiday season - traditionally a time of togetherness and family – comes this year, the grief they already feel can become unimaginably more difficult. 

Grief can’t easily be defined or categorized, and with holiday grief, no one person will react the same.  Some might try to run away from the holiday celebrations completely while others will pretend like nothing’s changed.  Those are not healthy ways to cope with holiday grief, so here are some suggestions. 

Trust That Grief Is Part of Healing

It’s important for families to understand that their grief is normal and that it can surge during the holidays - even years after a loss.  And that’s okay.  Grief just shows that a loved one may be gone, but they are never forgotten.  It’s important to accept the emotions, not avoid them.

Don’t Cancel The Holidays

“What’s the point?”  That’s the questions many ask as the holiday celebrations approach.  The smell of a certain candle or the sound of a certain song can trigger reminders and emotions of loss, and they think that by avoiding the holidays altogether they can avoid grief.

While certain events or parties are okay to skip out on, those grieving shouldn’t isolate themselves from friends and family completely.  Being together brings about a sense of community and comfort, and it’s likely that other members of the family are grieving too.  Coming together can be an opportunity to reminisce, share stories, and enjoy each other’s company while you grieve together.  Your funeral home can help by putting on a holiday remembrance program for families.

Find A Way To Honor Memories

Families can benefit by finding a special way to honor a loved one over the holidays.  A simple gesture can go a long way-whether it’s lighting a memorial candle, cooking their favorite meal for a holiday dinner, or hanging a special ornament on the tree each year - a simple gesture is a way to keep their memory around each holiday.

Create New Holiday Traditions

Grief isn’t moving on or getting over a loss, it’s about adjusting to a new phase of life.  And that means finding new traditions or building on old ones.  That could mean spending the holidays at someone else’s home this year, leaving an extra chair out at dinner, or giving a special holiday toast.

Give Back

The holidays also are a time for giving back.  For a grieving family, doing so can help ease their pain and help lift their spirit.  It’s also another way to honor their loved one.  Volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating gifts to families in need, or donating to a charity are great ways to offer something good this holiday season.

Activities for Children

For children, the holidays are not only a difficult time - but a confusing time as well.  Children’s grief might not be easily recognizable, but it’s still important that they get the support they need.

Encourage them to express themselves through activities like making a holiday card for the deceased, going through old photo albums of past holidays, or creating memorial ornament for their loved one.

No matter what your families do to deal with their grief, it’s important for them to remember that each person is different, and they should find a way to cope that works for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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