November 2015 
Vol 6, Issue 9


I Did Not Know 

What To Say  


 Dear (Contact First Name),

Happy Thanksgiving!  We are so grateful that you have chosen to be a part of our online community.
I appreciate your understanding as I took a few months off from our newsletter.  My Grandmother's health deteriorated over the summer and she passed away this Fall.  We are so grateful to have had her with us for so many years - she was 96 when she passed away.  She was a strong, tough but caring farm woman who loved us all deeply.  She will be dearly missed.
Featured Article   The first holidays after a loss can be an extremely emotional time.  How Friends Can Help During the First Holidays After A Loss, offers several suggestions on how to support a grieving friend or family member as they experience the holidays for the first time without their loved one.
Holiday Grief Support Resources   The holidays can be a difficult time for those that are grieving.  Click here to explore the many resources we have compiled on how to support a grieving loved one this holiday season.  If you have a resource you would like to share, please email us.

Be sure to also join us on Facebook and Twitter for resources and on-going discussions on ways to assist a loved one that is grieving.
With Love and Gratitude, 
"Let's be grateful for those who give us happiness; they are the charming gardeners who make our soul bloom."
~ Marcel Proust
In This Issue
Featured Article - How Friends Can Help During the First Holidays After A Loss
Happy Thanksgiving
Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts
About Us
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Featured Article
featureHow Friends Can Help During the First Holidays After A Loss

The first year of grief can be a roller coaster of emotions that are unpredictable.  Your friend has embarked on a journey they wished they never had to take, and at each turn they find that life has changed and they have to chart a new course.  The first year of holidays and family celebrations can bring a sense of uneasiness and displacement.  Everything is new for them and yet the rest of the world seems to have remained the same. 
Many questions are probably going through their mind - Will I want to celebrate the holidays?  Will anyone remember my loss?  If I sleep through the holidays, will it make all the deep feelings of sadness go away?  And when will they stop showing all the happy commercials of families enjoying the holidays?
After my mother passed away, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas were a blur.  It felt like we were going through the motions but not really present.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and birthdays were always a celebration with many family and friends at my mom's house.  After my mom passed away, I felt like I was lost and did not know where I fit in anymore.  It took many years, but my family found a way to combine new and old traditions and embrace my mom's memory at the same time.
How friends can help during the holidays
  • Respect their decisions about the holidays.  Each person's reaction to the holidays, after a loss, is unique.  Some may find comfort in continuing with family traditions, others may wish to start a new tradition, and still others may want to travel and be away from home during the holidays.  Respect their decision and understand that they are doing their best to make their way through the many emotions they are feeling.
  • Encourage Simplicity.  If the person grieving usually hosts the family festivities or has a long To Do List this time of year, offer your assistance.  Holiday dinners can take a lot of energy to prepare, offer to host the family dinner or help prepare the meal.  You may even want to suggest going to a restaurant for a stress free dinner.  Holiday shopping can also be stressful, offer to help them with the shopping or suggest that the family reduces the number of presents by drawing names.
  • Help them make a plan.  Although your friend may think they are up to putting together all the traditional family activities, they may find that they become overwhelmed in the process.  Assist them in creating a plan for the holidays that encourages self-care and helps them move through the holidays with a little more ease.  And if they choose to skip the holidays this year, be supportive.
  • Acknowledge the Loss.  Be sure to acknowledge your friend's loss this time of year and don't be afraid to use the name of the person that has passed away.  Send a card, make a phone call, stop by with a plate of their favorite holiday treat and remind them that you are thinking about them.
  • Share Your Memories.  Sharing memories and pictures can be very therapeutic. It allows everyone involved to share their memories and honor the person that has passed away.
  • Pamper the mind, body and spirit.  The depth of emotions that grieving can bring is exhausting - mentally and physically.  Encourage your friend to take care of themselves by eating nutritious meals, getting exercise and taking time to process the feelings they are going through.
  • Holiday Gifts - Should you or shouldn't you?  If your friend decides that they want to exchange gifts, consider buying something for them like you normally would and also include a memorial gift in remembrance of their loved one.  A memorial ornament, a scrapbook with pictures of their loved one, a journal or a favorite holiday pastry, shows your friend that you acknowledge their loss. 
  • Ask Questions.  If you are not sure what your friend needs, be sure to ask questions, listen and respect their decision.  If they want some time alone, allow them to have their space, but let them know you are there for them anytime.
  • Leave the front and back door open.  Feelings of grief throughout the holidays can be unpredictable.  Allow your friend the space to join-in at the last minute or back-out of holiday activities without feeling guilty.
  • The best present you can bring is your Love.  Deep feelings of grief can leave your friend feeling lifeless.  Pamper them, hug them, love them, and take special care of them. Remind them that although they have lost a loved one, they still have family and friends that love them.
The first year after a loss is a start of a new life.  Just like walking for the first time, your loved one may feel wobbly and may fall down many times as they find their way.  But have faith that they will work through the deep feelings that come with grief, and with the love and support of friends and family, they will find joy again - one tiny step at a time.
® 2011-2015 Lori Pederson
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?  You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Lori Pederson, Founder of I Did Not Know What To Say, a website created to inspire and to provide you with tools to assist a loved one through the grieving process.  If you would like our free newsletter on how to assist your friends and family members through the journey of restoring balance in their life after the death of a loved one, please visit our website at

Happy Thanksgiving               
Wishing You & Your Family a Very Happy Thanksgiving!


"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough, and more.
It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.
It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and
creates a vision for tomorrow."
~Melody Beattie

May Your Thanksgiving be Filled with Many Blessings!

Lori Pederson, Founder
I Did Not Know What To Say
Father's Day Remembrance Thoughtful Sympathy Gift Ideas
giftsSympathy Gifts

Delicately etched, our memorial glass ornament will brighten spirits as you remember loved ones.
Free personalization included

Visit o ur Thoughtful Sympathy Gifts page for a wide variety of sympathy gift ideas for your loved ones. We hope the thoughtful gifts listed on our website inspire you to give warmth and joy to your friends and family in their time of need.
About I Did Not Know What To & Lori Pederson

I Didn't Know What To was created to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a friend or family member through the grieving process.


My expertise comes from those experiences that only life can provide.  Over the past 20 years I have lost many family members and several friends. Namely, my mother who died when she was 50 from ovarian cancer, my aunt Pam, who died two weeks after my mother in a fatal car crash, my aunt Carol, who died from melanoma, my grandfather Ted from bone cancer, my friend Dan at age 28 who died from a rare form of abdominal cancer, my grandmother Lillian, who died from breast cancer, my grandfather Magnus- bless him to be the only one who has died of old age at 98, my pets Red, Jonathan and Harley, and several friends and colleagues along the way. I am no stranger to loss nor is my family. I mention my loss to acknowledge that what I write is from the heart and from true-life experience.


In addition to my many life experiences, I hold a Master's degree in Human Resource Development from The George Washington University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from California State University at Northridge. I have presented workshops in the area of active listening, handling life's transitions, and leadership development for over twenty years and have extensive experience mentoring and coaching young adults.  I am also currently studying with the Grief Coach Academy.


Throughout my life I have been blessed with many friends and relatives that were there for me as I went through the process of grieving to healing.  Their thoughtfulness has been an inspiration to me and I hope to you as well. 


I have learned over the years that although people want to support a grieving loved one, they often don't know where to start.  I Did Not Know What To was created out of my passion to assist people find the words when they don't know what to say or how to be supportive. 


I welcome you to share your experiences and inspirational messages.  As we receive new submissions we will be posting them on the website.


The smallest of gestures can make a big difference in someone's life.  My hope is that our site will inspire you to make a difference in the lives of those around you.  


With Love and Gratitude,  




Each week we will be adding new inspirational stories and resources to our website and Blog.  Help us reach our goal of providing inspiration and insight to the world by sharing your story or resource with our online community.  We would love to hear from you! 
Share Your Story. Please email us your inspirational stories, letters/cards that have reached your heart, a favorite quote, an unforgettable adventure, a thoughtful gift idea, a book that touched your life, or a suggestion for our website or newsletter to 

If you are an author or expert in the field of grief recovery, we would love to interview you for our Blog and/or one of our upcoming newsletters.  

If you have a website, Blog or newsletter, we ask that you consider including our information on your site.  Here is the link:   


I Did Not Know What To Say is a website created to inspire and provide you with tools to assist a love one through the grieving process.
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