I am so excited! The solstice is almost here! I always count the days to Solstice because at that point, the light will begin to grow again. Even though it won’t be obvious that the light is returning for many weeks, I know it in my heart, and that makes all the difference.
Winter is not my thing. The cold really gets to me. I miss the long days of sun and get a little claustrophobic in my small, not-quite-bright-enough house. And then there’s the bit about losing my father, mother and husband in three, separate Decembers. Historically, that really cast a pall on my Fa-la-la-la-la-ing. I’m very blessed to have a family of my own now which is wonderful, but I still would be happy to skip right from November to April if I could, preferably somewhere on Maui.
The winter in general, and the holiday season in particular, can be particularly dark and difficult if you are grieving. “The most wonderful time of the year” can feel anything but. Seeing other people happy when you feel hollowed out is like salt in the wound. Suffering tends to create an invisible wall between you and the rest of life, and when the rest of life is busy celebrating while you sit and watch, well, it makes what you’re going through just that much more painful.
The experience of loss and grief mirrors the season of winter, which is, in part, what makes grieving during this time all the more poignant. Like the time of year itself, it can feel as though all the warmth and light has disappeared from your heart. Every client I see that is dealing with grief wonders aloud if they will ever see the light again. They fear they may not. They look to me for hope, for faith, and for guidance because I’ve been there. And because I’ve been there, done that, it’s important to me to offer a hand to others who are going through it, particularly during this dark and potent time of year.
I’d like to offer three, important thoughts for those who are going through a personal winter, or know someone who is.
GRIEF IS A SEASON OF THE HEART
Just as winter is a season in the cycle of a year that promotes rest and regeneration, grief is a season of your life that allows you to rest, heal, and prepare for the return of light and life. Grief is a medicine unto itself. When expressed, it allows us to heal. Like the winter, it can feel long and dark and never-ending, but it won’t last forever. It has its season. Just as we wait through the winter for the turn of time and the continued whirling of the stars to bring us illumination, our dark seasons of the heart will also turn and and return us to the light of brighter days.
USE YOUR *GET OUT OF CHRISTMAS FREE* CARD
If you are in grief, let me offer you a pass this Christmas. (Yes, I said “Christmas.” Someone call the PC police.) Don’t push yourself to “do” the holidays as usual. This is not a normal time, so don’t try to make it normal; that only creates more stress, and the last thing you need is more stress. You truly don’t need to pretend that everything is okay when it’s not. If the festivities help you, great. But if they just make you want to crawl into bed, that’s completely okay. It is. There will be more and easier holidays to come. I promise. This is a special time. Treat it, and yourself, that way. And remember, this season is a time of endings and beginnings, both.
BE THE LIGHT
You can be the light in the midst of someone’s dark time simply by offering an expression of caring. Let them know you’ve been thinking about them. Ask how they are. The simple act of connecting — and not avoiding the obvious — is very healing. It’s even better if you do something: take them a meal, bring some flowers, send a card that says you are thinking of them. (A real one. The kind you mail. With actual handwriting.) Openness, warmth and kindness are the best gifts you could possibly give and will be remembered forever. It’s the true meaning of the season.
Wishing you all peace, love, comfort, and joy.