Friday, April 2, 2010

Holidays and the Bereaved

I am not a grief counselor. But I do my fair share of bereavement visits and have been around the grieving for a long time, so wanted to give you some things to think about this holiday weekend.

If you know someone who has had a death in their family this past year, remind yourself how difficult this Easter/Passover will be for them. Many people assume that the bereaved won't want to be "reminded" of their loss. That is not true. There isn't a day that goes by that they are not reminded.

What they don't want is to be forgotten. Nor have their loved one be forgotten.

So, if calling makes you uncomfortable, then send a card or some flowers or drop off a spring plant and tell them you are thinking of them. Don't say that if they need anything, to call. They won't. You need to be the one to just do something.

The holidays are especially difficult for the grieving. They are hard enough to get through when things are good. So, be mindful of that.

If you know someone who is very ill or dying and in hospice care, they would love a card or letter and a reminder that they, too, are being thought of. Flowers and food are nice as well, as the family can enjoy them. But a note is just fine and a handwritten note, even better.

I was with one patient last Easter when the doorbell rang and it was a neighbor who had made fresh scones and brought jam. The family was thrilled.

It doesn't take much to remind people that they are loved or thought about.

The cruelest thing is to do nothing. Being forgotten and alone is not good for anyone.

So, this Easter/Passover, as you are enjoying your family and counting your blessings, take time to remember those who will not feel so blessed this year.

“It is not the magnitude of our actions but the amount of love that is put into them that matters.”

~Mother Teresa

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