During a year significant events such as holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones hold special meaning for many people. For those who have experienced loss, these occasions can become reminders of grief and emotional challenges. The impact of loss during significant events and times of the year can hit hard and those affected may need support or at the least, a friendly shoulder. We have covered some practical suggestions on how you can support and check in on those who might be affected.
Understanding the Impact
Loss has a profound effect on individuals, and the emotions that arise during significant events can be intensified. Whether it’s the first holiday season without a loved one or a milestone birthday that will never be celebrated together, these occasions can evoke feelings of sadness, longing, and a sense of emptiness.
How to Help
- Be Present: Simply being there for someone who is grieving can make a significant difference. Reach out and let them know that you are available to listen, lend a supportive shoulder, or spend time together. Offer your presence and empathy, allowing them to express their feelings without judgment.
- Practice Active Listening: When someone shares their feelings of loss or talks about their loved one, practice active listening. Show genuine interest, validate their emotions, and provide a safe space for them to open up. Avoid offering unsolicited advice and instead, offer understanding and compassion.
- Offer Practical Support: During significant events, individuals may struggle with everyday tasks or find it challenging to participate in certain activities. Offer practical support such as cooking a meal, helping with errands, or assisting with preparations for the event. These gestures can alleviate some of the burden and allow them to focus on their emotional well-being.
- Respect Their Unique Grieving Process: Understand that everyone grieves differently, and there is no timeline for healing. Respect their unique grieving process and avoid placing expectations or judgments on how they should cope. Provide reassurance that it’s okay to feel a range of emotions and that you are there to support them through it all.
- Remember Their Loved Ones: Acknowledge and remember the person they have lost during significant events. Share stories, memories, or photos of their loved one. A simple gesture like lighting a candle or dedicating a moment of silence in their honour can bring solace and comfort.
- Create Inclusive Spaces: When planning events or gatherings, create inclusive spaces that recognize and accommodate those who are grieving. Be sensitive to their needs and offer options for participation without pressure. For example, provide opportunities for quiet reflection or designate a space for individuals to retreat if needed.
Loss during these times can intensify feelings of grief and make it challenging for individuals to navigate these occasions. By offering support; practicing active listening, and respecting their unique grieving process, you can make a meaningful difference in someone’s life. It’s the small gestures of compassion, understanding, and remembrance that can provide comfort and healing during these difficult times.
Visit our Bereavement Sections in our Resource centre or a list of support if you need help or know someone that does.