When someone we know has lost a loved one, we are often at a loss for words and uncomfortable with encounters with them. Sometimes we avoid people who are bereaved at a time when they really need our love and support. This may leave them feeling lonely and isolated, especially at times like Christmas when families are coming together. It may be helpful to discover the right words to use to reach them in this lonely place.
The Centre for Grief, Care and Education at San Diego has published some tips for including condolence and support messages in seasonal greetings to family, friends and acquaintances who may have experienced a death of loved one this past year, or are still grieving the past death of a loved one.
According to the hospice’s caregivers blog the old saying “it’s the thought that counts” really is what matters in this situation. Simply letting the person know that they are in your thoughts is something they will appreciate. Therefore it is important that we overcome our own uncertainty to reach out to our bereaved friends or family members.
The blog includes some strategies for including condolence sentiments in your holiday cards. These include:
- Naming the deceased and acknowledge the loss with sympathy
- Telling a story or note the special qualities of the deceased
- Ending with a thoughtful word, a hope, a wish or expression of sympathy.
The Centre has also produced a resource pack Coping with the Holidays for those grieving the loss of a loved one this holiday season.