In my household the holiday season brings a lot of joyful anticipation. Yes, I am one of THOSE people. My trees are already up and the house is decorated for Christmas long before Thanksgiving day even gets here. Christmas movies, holiday music and sugar cookies baking in the oven are a regular in the Hildebrand home. But, in the midst of all of the joy and celebration I am reminded that there are many out there who dread this time of year. If you have ever experienced the loss of a loved one you may know all too well this sadness. So how does one deal with a grieving heart during the holidays? Here are some things I think are helpful to keep in mind if you or someone you love is grieving

Be Willing to Share Memories
Memories have a way of bringing a smile back to one’s heart. Be willing to share memories of your loved ones, especially with those who are hurting. Most find comfort in knowing that others cherish their memory and still think about them too.
Go with the Flow
Grief is an unpredictable thing. Some days are good and some days are barely tolerable. On any given day one can move from feelings of anger, loneliness, sadness or confusion. Be willing to be flexible with those grieving. It may be hard for them to make decisions and they may change their mind often. Be patient and try to go with the flow as much as possible. Try not to cancel the holidays all together, if possible.
It is normal to be at a loss for words and not know what to say to someone who is sad and grieving. In fear of saying something stupid, many time people choose to say nothing at all. Communication is key and honesty is important. Even saying to the person “ I don’t really know what to say but I do love you and I am here for you “ means a lot. People who are grieving most times do not know what they need to make them feel better. However, communication is key in keeping the lines open for healing.
Keep on Loving
Understand that frustration, anger and disparity are reflections of the grief not a direct reflection of their feelings for you. Try to be understanding if their temperament fluctuates. If you are the one grieving try not to let your grief prevent you from experiencing love in the now or expressing love to those that are still here.
Be Willing to Change Traditions
Some people find comfort in keeping with their same holiday traditions but many times grieving hearts need to create new traditions that incorporate the memory of their loved ones. Be willing to help create meaningful ways to honor your loved one.
The holidays are all about sharing love. Love, in all of its forms can be very healing and most times is contagious. Even in the midst of our grief we can allow love to reside within us and be the motivation of all that we do. It may not always be easy but it is possible. Most importantly it is good to remember that LOVE never dies.  It lives on inside us, is found in the memories of our loved ones and shows itself to us in many mysterious ways. May your hearts always be open to receiving the love that pours down from heaven. May those gifts of love always bring encouragement, strengthen your spirit and bring a smile to your heart. And may you experience those gifts often.

Love, Light & Blessings,