So, this is Christmas, and what have you done? The song plays in my head a lot at this time of the year because I am writing a second book already about grief and the holidays.
There are a lot of books already written with suggestions that those of us who are grieving have Googled and read, cried and wished, and the pain is not truly lessened.
The words that will go into this book will be for those who grieve and those who don’t. Unfortunately, there are many people who have never grieved and they do not understand it at all. They are the lucky ones. They are also the ones I usually unfollow on social media and in life because they can’t even say how sorry they are that someone we loved died.
Then there are the friends who just don’t think. I would like to re-write the lyrics to “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” to show people that they clearly are not thinking when they address the cards and insert the family Christmas letter that is filled with all the joy they have had this year. (Please, we know it hasn’t all been that joyous.)
At first I couldn’t even open the cards that arrived. The words merry and happy are not in my vocabulary these days. On the flip side of that though is that there have been cards especially chosen for me from friends, and one friend even crossed out the word merry and added her own message after the word Christmas.
These are the thinking friends. These are the kind friends. These are the empathetic friends. As an empath I can recognize other empaths quite easily now.
This is the time of the year when people who are grieving need kindness. We need acts of love. Actually, we need the 5 love languages.
- Words of affirmation. We need to hear these words from people we have allowed into our lives in friendship and those we were born into and possibly stuck with, family.
- Gifts. While this sounds like we are looking for something for nothing try picturing what it is like to not have wrapped gifts under a tree after years, make that a lifetime, of having them. Furthermore, there is no greater act of kindness and love at this time than to send a truly meaningful gift to someone whose world was turned upside down especially when facing the first holiday without the person they love. It doesn’t have to be wrapped either, there are many wonderful ways to gift someone.
- Acts of service. I did receive several of these over the past month and I am extremely grateful. Owning a home on my own is a new experience and I have not learned everything yet. There are still things I need to have done (I have a running to-do list available I say with a smile). Who can you do something for that they cannot do on their own?
- Quality time. I want everyone to know that I do not spend hours talking about my sadness and grief when I am with people. I laugh. I do have fun. I have stories that are not about what I have been through this year. None of us need to be telling someone what we have planned and suddenly realize they didn’t hear a word we said and they just move past your conversation and interject their own plans, like you never said a word. Also, this may not be the time to tell your grieving friend everything you are doing over the holidays with friends and family. It may be too soon. It is so important to anyone who is grieving that they are asked about their plans, that they are listened to, and that means maybe they are a tad self-centered. This will pass, we do heal a little here and there and we do move forward and we do find ourselves wanting to reach out with kindness to others.
- Physical touch. Hugs, we need hugs. If you are a person who doesn’t like touch, maybe a hand squeeze with meaning would work. Me, I get massages as often as I can. Touch is healing. We all need it, we even crave it, so who can you touch this season with meaning?
Yes, I can see new lyrics in my head, they go like this:
It came upon the midnight clear(ly) that using more kindness works
For people who are sad and lonely wherever grieving lurks
I will stop there I do like that Christmas carol and I don’t want to really change the words, I just want to share that there is so much you can do for anyone who is grieving. We have worth please do not diminish it especially now. We need our friends and families to realize this.