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Offering support to those dealing with a loss during the holiday season

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The purpose of the SASS-MoKan Holiday Remembrance Service is to offer survivors some ideas of how to deal with the holidays, hear some uplifting words, participate in a candle lighting honoring their loved ones and let families know they are not alone.

Bonnie and Mickey Swade from SASS-MoKan stopped by the Fox 4 studio to talk about ways family and friends can help survivors during the holidays. It is definitely a challenging time when one is dealing with a new loss or still remembering of how the holidays used to be before losing a loved one. Holiday times emphasize the absence of the person even more.

Here are some ways that are helpful to survivors:

  • Respect the person's pain and remember that their life is under reconstruction
  • Allow them the right to grieve
  • Acknowledge that because of what has happened your good intentions of giving the family a holiday invitation may not be accepted
  • Be sure to use their loved ones name…such as I know you are missing __________during this time. This acknowledges that you have not forgotten how important this person was to them.
  • Respect their spirituality and faith may have changed since losing their loved one.
  • Avoid clichés such as " I know _____would want you to enjoy the holidays and being with friends."
  • Don't try to take their hurt away
  • Be a compassionate listener
  • Be understanding of the spectrum of emotions that a survivor goes through
  • Give the family some space
  • Do not be judgmental
  • Be honest and let them know you too are at a loss as to what is right to say
  • Be sincere
  • Offer to help them send cards or holiday shop
  • Be understanding that they may call at the last minute and say we have to cancel our plans with you
  • Be patient
  • Know that your physical presence often times is enough and words are not necessary
  • Keep in touch
  • Understand the uniqueness of suicide grief

Click here to visit the SASS-MoKan website.

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