Happy Holidays!

Barbara Hinther
3 min readDec 3, 2020

Except for the grieving.

My tiny town somewhere in Idaho.

Maybe it’s because I’m one of the older members on Medium or I’m sensitive to this because I am a widow, but please remember those that have lost loved ones this time of year. It can be the loneliest and most painful time for those grieving.

The Christmas carols, twinkling lights and good wishes are needed even more so during the 2020 fiasco, but for the grieving, it’s salt in the wound. It’s intolerable. It never ends. However, it costs next to nothing for us to validate, comfort, be of service to the griever. The rewards are tremendous, even if you see no immediate results. Like the Grinch, your heart will grow many times. Trust me. It matters.

To help the grieving, let’s not use the steps to success, the steps to improve, how I sold 100,000 widgets. Instead, let’s join them in their valley for just a bit. We will all be there someday.

For the intimacy impaired, awkward and scared, here’s how to help:

Plow snow from their driveway.

Mow their lawn.

Call and offer to pickup groceries, prescription, mail.

Give a contribution to charity in the deceased loved one’s name.

Send a picture your child drew in school with a note that says you’re thinking of them.

Get creative. Bring your family into this. Kids sometimes have the best ideas.

For those brave enough to risk emotion:

Share a story about their deceased loved one in person or in writing. No online stuff!

Share something you learned or experienced from their deceased loved one. I still have my husband’s music students tell me stories about my husband.

How about a picture of their loved one?

Leave some flowers, flag, stuffed toy at the headstone. I gave my great grandma’s handkerchief to a grieving widow. She let all that pain out. She still has the handkerchief. Old-fashioned, I know.

Show up and shut up. Let them cry. Let them know that’s okay. Make a cup of cocoa or tea. And sit. Not a time for booze.

Tell them you can’t imagine their pain. Everyone’s grief is unique. Don’t compare their grief to Aunt Bertha’s…

Barbara Hinther

Lives in a rural town, marketing for over 30 years, author of Meditations and Encouragement for the Caregiver of a Loved One With Dementia. Volunteer.