Another good question I received.
How do you ask them if they are going to be okay on the holidays or if they need you if its not their first but second, third, etc… year without their spouse?
That can be challenging. What it really would depend on is where they are in the grieving process. Try to really listen to them and learn about their grieving. If you listen, without judgement, they will talk to you.
When Mike died, Thanksgiving and Christmas were right around the corner. I think I was in shock when these two holidays came. Which made it feel like it wasn’t really the first holidays. It may also depend on what type of family support they have and if their family is logistically close to them. There are so many factors that effect this and I learned everyone has their own grieving process.
I would start out by asking them the month before the holiday. Start out by finding out what their plans are for the holiday. If you would like to join them on the holiday, see if you can make plans together. Then keep checking in each week with them until the holiday comes. You can offer your support, asking them if they need anything from you. Work with them on trying to make the holiday a focus on the positives of the holiday.
Most holidays tend to focus on family, so there will probably always be some sadness they will carry with them during the holidays. I would suggest visiting them the days before the holiday. Those are the days that seem to be most challenging for me, not the actual day. I build up so much anxiety that the day seems less eventful than what I pictured it being.
Focusing on the positives in their life and staying upbeat for them will definitely help.