1. "Seven Suggestions for Navigating Loss During the Holidays" (PDF) If you are wanting to know how to help a friend who lost a loved one this year and is trying to figure out holiday events and traditions, these strategies can help them and you.
2. I wrote a "letter to friends in time of loss." I think they found it helpful. You may, too.
3. I get it. I can sound melancholy. (Because I am). A conversation with a patient helped. "Advent can include smiling. Apparently." (It's possible this conversation was in my head).
4. Clarissa Moll wrote a thoughtful, helpful book on the journey following the death of a loved one called Beyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after Loss. Dr Lee Warren had a conversation with her to let you hear her voice and learn a little of her heart. It's particularly helpful for those who have lost a spouse and for talking with those people.
5. I just completed a 2-page draft summary of the aforementioned research project. (Beinghelpfulinloss.com). 155 people responded to four core questions: what they found helpful in 1) what people said or 2) did or 3) gave in grief support materials, and 4) what people wish someone had said or done.
If you download and read the summary, or if you want to more, I'd be grateful for responses.
I’ve analyzed the survey responses and have these observations.
- Acknowledge that you know. It may be a text, a phone call, a visit.
- Rather than looking for the formula of the right thing to do, think about the person. Because personalities are different, even about grief. Circles of support are different. Relationships between survivors and to the loved one are different. Even a few minutes of reflection will help you know what could be helpful.
- And then do something.
- choose from among these eleven response clusters.
6. So Ben, our grandson, (pictured above) has been one of the most helpful things this year. Not that he's actually doing any work, but his existence is a reminder to me that our value isn't in what we do, it's that we are.
7.. A friend gave me an Aeropress coffee press this year. In addition to being perfect for 9-month-olds to chew on, it's been a delightful consistent coffee press for me at work and elsewhere.
8. A year or so ago, I started buying classical music records (yes, vinyl) at thrift stores that I play on a hand-me-down record-player. Two dollars (or less). It's been a delightful gift to myself. I know it's not for everyone. Just like your $2 splurge may not be for me. But it's a reminder to me that it's helpful to look for small things that encourage us.