Editor's Note: The Chaplaincy Department at Hendricks Regional Health offers a variety of free bereavement support groups for the community. Whether you are relatively new in your stage of grief, or are feeling ready to deal with a loss that is not so recent, there is a group for everyone. Please call (317) 718-4360 to learn more.
Like most people, I was overcome with happiness watching the energy of pure bliss soak through my phone on social media this past holiday season. The season is full of family, friends, colleagues and smiles worn by even the grouchiest of Grinch’s. However, for me this year, there was some heartbreaking moments. These moments came from individuals who have lost a loved one. For these people, the holidays can be very sad, and often time’s loneliness occupies the empty dinner plate left for the one that has passed. As I worked on grief and loss duty this season, I often times wondered how the family, friends and coworkers coped with having someone close to them suffering emotionally during the season.
Answers came to me as many grief stricken individuals share that others do not know how to feel or what to say to them. Most the time I hear people say “they don’t mention it” or “they just don’t bring it up” when I ask about their support. I thought to myself, it is not that people do not care, in fact it is the opposite. People who have not experienced the horrific loss of someone close to them may feel that bringing up the subject is taboo or awkward for the person experiencing grief. It’s quite the contrary really. For those that have lost a loved one, the best thing people can do is provide emotional support and offer to share in the memories of the person that is lost. Offering time together, sharing in memories, or even purchasing a memorial candle for the loved one to light in memory of their lost family member can help fill the void that accompanies grief stricken friends and family.
Additionally, it can also be said that other people cope differently. Some individuals may choose not to share memories. Therefore when sharing memories is too difficult, providing comfort to a friend can come in other forms. Picking them up and taking them out to dinner, going for walks or stopping by the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA for spiritual needs, lunch and group exercise may be the one (or few) activities someone needs to get through their rough days during any holiday.
Although this seems like a dark subject, this is reality. People we all know have most likely lost someone close to them and have to be reminded that they are missing someone special during any holiday. For people who have lost someone very close to them, things will never be how it was before. Often times, they are reminded of this every year, every holiday and every season, but their strength and resilience builds every year and they begin to learn how to overcome any type of adversity that is giving to them. Their strength comes from you. We can never fully bring back the happiness these people once had with their lost loved one, but we can brighten their day by going that extra mile with them by offering them support. For the next holidays we may encounter, reach out to that person who may be missing someone special. Your presence alone may be just the right tool to get them through the day.
Member of the Hendricks Regional Health YMCA Advisory Board
Lael is a 33-year-young wife and mother of two currently living in Brownsburg, Indiana. She is a proud volunteer and member of the YMCA, and firmly believes in the organization's mission.
Lael is a social worker employed as a Victim Services Specialist for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Additionally, she is a sociology graduate stuent at Indiana University School of Liberal Arts. Lael also is a member of the National Association of Social Workers, and currently serves on the Indiana Chapter's public policy committee.
When she is not being a wife, mother, social worker, volunteer and student, she enjoys exercising, gardening, going on nature walks, talking on the phone, and has recently taken up cycling for a hobby. We are thriled to have Lael as a guest blogger as she chronicles her journey to better health!