Thursday, December 24, 2015

3 Ways to Help Grieving Friends This Christmas: Part 3



T'was the day before Christmas, when all through the house...

I wish I could say not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse in my home. But... we still have gift-wrapping to do and grocery shopping and cooking and baking.

And yet, I had to take a break from my holiday preparations to write the final post in this blog series. As I've connected with friends and family members, it seems I'm not the only one grieving loved ones this season. And I'm certainly not the only one working through hurts and disappointments and major life transitions.

So if you, or someone you love, is balancing loss and grief while also celebrating the most precious Gift we've ever received - our Savior, Jesus Christ - this post is for you.

In my first two posts, I shared the two ways to help a grieving loved one during the holidays: expressing empathy and the Gift of Presence. Today I want to share another. It's pretty simple, but I've had confirmation over the last few days that this is the thought I'm supposed to share with you.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I experienced my first day of national tragedy. I wasn't born when Martin Luther King Jr. and President John F. Kennedy were assassinated. I had never watched a nation mourn together. Not until 9/11.

And mourn we did.

The mantra birthed out of 9/11 was "Never Forget". We had no power to bring back the thousands of lives lost on that day. We could do very little to console the thousands who lost a mother, father, child, spouse or friend that day. 

But we did what we could. We spoke words of love and blessing. We held prayer vigils.

We also REMEMBERED. 

So as I complete this blog series today, I want to share one more way to help those around us that find themselves grieving this Christmas.

We must REMEMBER.

One constant about grief is that there's very little that's constant about grief. The way I grieve might differ greatly from the way you grieve. I process my grief out loud. I write about it. I talk about it. I share what I'm feeling with my sisters, my husband Anthony, my children and close friends.

Others grieve more internally, processing within their minds and hearts. They don't need to talk about it. But it's just as real. Just as present in their lives as in mine.

Yet one commonality in the area of grief is this: We want to know that our loved ones haven't been forgotten. We love to hear others honor our loved ones and share funny or sweet stories about them. It blesses us to know that we're not the only ones missing our loved ones. It can be painful to watch how life moves on, when we know our lives have been forever altered.

We simply want and need to know that they are remembered.

So this holiday, let others know you remember their loved one.

Let them know you're praying for them... because you remember.

Send a text message, Facebook message or card... because you remember.

Tell them you're aware that this Christmas might be tough... because you remember.

It's a simple thing to do. But it means so much.

I remember just a few weeks ago, Anthony told me he was really missing my parents. It was a regular day, but for some reason he felt the loss a bit more. I have those days too, but it blessed me to know that he did too. It blessed me to know that I wasn't along in my grief. It blessed me to know that he simply remembered.

This Christmas, you and I can share love with others that might be hurting this very moment. I can think of several precious people in my life that are experiencing all manner of loss and pain. I bet you can too.

This Christmas, let's love like Jesus did. Isaiah 53 describes Him this way...

"He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried."

This Christmas let's be grief-bearers and sorrow-carriers. 

This Christmas let's simply REMEMBER.



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