By Leslie Condon, TargetCancer Foundation Advocacy Council Co-Chair
The holidays can trigger a lot of memories and emotions for family, especially for those who have lost a loved one. Reaching out to friends and family during this time can be especially meaningful and helpful to the grieving process. If someone you love is grieving, make an effort to connect with them. Some ideas for remembering a loved one during the holidays:
- Create a tradition of remembrance that becomes part of your holiday traditions, such as lighting a special candle or hanging a special ornament, or saying a prayer.
- Write down a specific memory you had of that person and collect them in a scrapbook to look over and read out loud each holiday season or milestone date.
- Take part in something new that your loved one enjoyed or wanted to try such as singing in a choir, cross country skiing, or making homemade challah bread or gingerbread.
- Maintain old traditions you had with your loved one and invite family or friends to take part.
- Make your loved one’s favorite dish in their honor for the holiday meal.
- Volunteer in your loved one’s honor. This could be at a local hospital or hospice, or somewhere more neutral such as a soup kitchen, neighborhood church or synagogue.
The most important thing to remember is to be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself to feel sadness if it comes, but also the joy their memory may bring. Bringing happiness to others during the holidays is a tremendous opportunity for healing.