As I put away the last Thanksgiving decorations and start to hang the Christmas lights, my heart is very heavy. As I usually find the holidays a “wonderful time of year”, this year it is especially hard for many of my relatives and dear friends.
It’s that thing called grief. In the last 2 weeks, I’ve had 4 deaths in “my inner circle.” Some were expected due to age, and some very unexpected. But I know it doesn’t matter if it was expected or not -- grief is grief.
It. Is. Hard.
Even if it is something that you thought would bring relief, it’s still difficult. And the thing about grief is that it brings so many emotions and different responses to situations. Plus, you are often, not only impacted by how it affects you, but also how it impacts those closest to you.
The stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some think you hit each stage and then it is over and all is well, but from both personal and professional experience, grief unfortunately isn’t that cut and dry. :-(
If you know someone that has had a recent loss, know that the holiday season can bring up lots of feelings, so don’t hesitate to call/text/email someone you care about if they have had a loss. Do so regularly, even if they don’t respond. Don’t take it personally. It can be very reassuring to know that someone is thinking about you and that you’re not alone. They’ll respond when they are ready.
Know that there is NO time frame in which one is allowed to cry or to grieve a loss. Be supportive to them or seek support if needed.
So for those that have lost loved ones this year, either after “a good life”, a life not yet realized, one fighting for our country, or one fighting their own battle, may you find the peace and be able to remember the memories that bring you the most joy.