Grief and coping with a loss do not end when the services are over. Perhaps you were able to attend the services, share your condolences or offer your support during the immediate time after the loss. How can you continue to show your support as your loved one adjusts to a new normal in the weeks and months that follow?
Grieving is a process that takes time, and it can be hard work. There is no set timetable for grief, and everybody grieves differently. There are many different simple, thoughtful gestures to consider to show your support for your loved one.
Write a letter or send a personal card
Whether it is a “thinking of you” note around a holiday, anniversary, or out of the blue, let them know they are in your thoughts. Share a fond story of the loved one that was lost and use this opportunity to stay connected with meaningful memories.
Celebrate holidays and special occasions
Holidays and celebrations can be especially hard after a loss. Look for ways to celebrate and also honor the memory of the loved one who has passed. Give a toast, plant a flower or tree, or share favorite memories around the table. These are just a few ways to remember a loved one as part of a celebration. Spend some time thinking about the traditions that you can help maintain to honor their memory.
Reach out and stay connected
Take the first step to reach out and keep a connection with your loved one. Loved ones may not ask for help or support, and may feel isolated or lonely during this difficult time after a loss. Instead of waiting for your loved one to initiate contact, be proactive and stay connected. It can be as simple as meeting for coffee or a walk in the park. If your loved one needs a laugh, bring over a comedy and watch it together. It is okay if you do not know what to say, sometimes just the supportive presence of family and friends can be a great help during this time.
Be there for them to reminisce and share in their grief. This can be painful, but be careful not to approach this with any perceptions as to what grief looks like and how they should feel. The grieving journey is different for everyone. Be mindful of any situations that are especially difficult and ask how you can help.