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.