Helping your grieving friend can be challenging because every person grieves differently. Not to mention, those grieving often don’t know what it is that they need either.

The holidays are extra tricky, too. Do you wish them a “Merry” and “Bright” Christmas to cheer them up? Probably not. What about “Happy New Year” or other popular dates? What do you say to someone grieving?

Instead of sending that unhelpful and dreaded “Happy Holiday” text message, here are supportive alternatives. Keep in mind that you know your friend best. Write the text in a way that feels natural to you.

The following grief messages are examples you can send to a friend:

When dealing with grief it can be hard to put your own feelings into words, so reading someone else’s can often be helpful. Although reading can be challenging during bereavement, it can be one method of coping with loss and understanding how grief can affect you.

That’s why we asked our friends in our Tender Hearts community for their help in curating what books are helping them during the grief journey ahead.

At age 12, Danica Thurber lost her father to a sudden heart attack. She then experienced a string of other losses, including her desire to hold it all together. Thurber says that “grief threatened to engulf me.” Always an artist, she began painting pain and death alongside the beautiful parts of life and discovered that this would be a healing process for her. “It took me years, and a lot of support, to find personal healing,” she said, “and along the way, I began to reach out to others who had experienced loss.” Thurber is now a Therapeutic Art Life Coach, a fine artist and art teacher. She and her husband founded Project Grief, an online school that teaches art as a tool for personal grief recovery. The school is for anyone who’s experienced a loss and shows them how to translate intangible, painful feelings onto a visible canvas. In…

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