Imagine if your loved one was missing or a victim of murder….how would you cope with the holidays? While the holidays are a time of joy, going to parties and celebrations, for families coping with the loss of a missing or murdered loved one, it’s no picnic. Grief is a normal response to loss. When we experience grief, our thinking, feeling and behavior are deeply affected. Since the disappearance of my precious and dear friend, Lilly Aramburo – June 2, 2007, my life hasn’t been the same. Since then, it’s been quite a struggle to remain positive knowing she still has not been found. (Lilly’s mother and 2 year old child are pictured above) Sometimes if you’re grieving, its hard to experience genuine joy…especially during the holidays. But no matter how intense our feelings are, they are temporary and while painful, experiencing the process of grief is normal.
Here are a few tips that might help you if you’re grieving over the loss of a loved one:
- It’s ok to need comfort. Ask for, and accept the help.
- Talk about it. It’s essential you have someone who will help sustain you emotionally. Seek out a good friend, family member or someone in your faith community to talk to.
- Look at pictures of your loved one. Remember their voice and everything about them.
- Find a support group. Share memories of your loved one. Allow your emotions to surface in order to work through them.
- Keep a journal or blog. Some find it helpful to express themselves through art by painting, drawing or arts & crafts or by listening to music or singing.
- Create a memorial in his/her honor (If they loved flowers, plant or fund a garden)
- Get involved in a cause or organization that was important to them. Donate to them in your loved one’s name.
- Try to eat healthy and exercise.Take it one day at a time. Try meditation, it’s very beneficial for calming the mind.
- Support others who are grieving or experiencing loss, as well.
- Remember that your time on earth is limited and human life is precious.
Here are 5 ways friends can help:
- Be a good listener – Allow them to talk about their grief, or whatever they feel like expressing.
- Be non-judgmental. Do not criticize them…
- Support them by helping with household chores or cooking whenever possible. Their ability to do even simple tasks can be impaired. Don’t ask, just do it.
- If they’re going through a trial or court proceedings, this can be very trying – offer a shoulder to lean on.
- Send cards on important days such as their birthday, anniversary of their death or disappearance. Consider honoring their life by organizing a candlelight vigil and inviting the community.
We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a missing or murdered loved one? Are you grieving? How are you coping with the holidays?