Surround Yourself With Comfort

When we're grieving, we quickly find out who's willing to share our sorrow and give us time to be sad. We also discover who's uncomfortable with our tears, wanting us to "get over it."

Certain relatives or friends you see during the holidays may add to your pain with too many words or by never talking about your family's loss. While you don't want your relationships to be forever ruled by your sensitivity, for a little while you may need to avoid those who add to your hurt.

This may be the holiday season to do what brings you comfort. So if being with your family and continuing tradition brings the soothing you need, do it. But if your extended family is insensitive to your grief, you may choose this year to be around people you can count on to understand your sorrow, people who offer the emotional and spiritual support you need to get through the season.

Invite someone over who helps you remember your loved one. Or slip away occasionally from the family reunion to call someone who supports you.

Maybe you need to communicate clearly to your extended family what will bring you comfort. You can't expect them to know.

If you long to hear your loved one's name, explain that you look forward to a time of talking together about him. Or set the tone by bringing up her name yourself. You'll break the ice for everyone else who's thinking of your loved one – but isn't sure whether saying his name will make you feel better or add to your sadness.

Excerpted from When Your Family's Lost a Loved One, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Copyright © 2008 by David and Nancy Guthrie. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.

Next in this Series: Expect to Feel Sad, But Be Open to Joy