Four Tips for Helping Grieving Parents During the Holidays
For parents who have lost a child, the holidays are one of the most difficult times of the year. Starting with Halloween and continuing through New Year's, parents can face never ending scenes of what a family should look like, and what their family was supposed to look like on social media, commercials, or the movies. We constantly see images of that most precious thing we will never have again: a family that is complete and whole.
But, there are a lot of things parents can do to help each other. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that unless we are there for each other, everything can really fall apart. As such here are four ways you can help grieving parents, or perhaps your parent during this holiday season.
Only Do What Feels Right
It's up to you which traditions and/or events you can handle. Further, you are not obligated to participate in anything that doesn't feel doable. Create realistic expectations for yourself and others, but above all, be gentle with yourself.
On the other hand, if holiday activities are a good distraction that brings joyful feelings and good memories, feel free to participate.
Sometimes the anticipation is worse than the actual holiday. Plan comforting activities ahead of time so you have something to look forward to, rather than building up angst of what the holiday could bring.
New activities without specific memories tied to lost loved ones might be easier. But remember that familial traditions might be comforting as well, even if you have to adapt them for 2020 circumstances and guidelines.
Help Someone Else
Many people like to help others in large or small ways during the holiday season. We may drop our change in a charity basket, purchase a gift for a needy child, or donate to a favorite organization. This can help us feel like we are contributing to the greater good. Consider volunteering at a children’s shelter or soup kitchen. You can also find a way to help another family member or friend who may need it. Any of these things can prove cathartic and help in the healing process.
Do Something Different
The holidays are already very different this year; losing loved ones can make it feel like these annual celebrations will never be the same again. In a way, they won't, and accepting this will help you manage expectations. But remember that different doesn't have to mean bad.
If you can, embrace the difference. Plan novel activities (especially helpful the first holiday season after the loss) that create new memories.
About Walk In Sunshine
Walk In Sunshine is a charity that focuses on online resources for families who have lost a child. We plan to continue to post articles addressing all types of child loss. We will also donate $1,000 to the final arrangements of any child loss in Union County from 20 weeks gestation until the child turns 18.
Our website is www.walkinsunshinecharity.org