Moving Through Loss
The sadness and vulnerability of grieving during a holiday season should be honored.
Holidays can be super rough for people who are grieving.
Losing someone you love can be downright traumatic. It can leave you with short or long-term PTSD of a kind that many people don’t recognize or understand. You may have spent years developing coping skills that fly out the window on the wings of your sorrow. We live in a world where personal emotional armor is necessary to survival. Suddenly you are stumbling through days and nights without any skin on your bones. You are so very vulnerable.
Holidays are supposed to be happy times. Celebrations. They have been before. They will be again. But perhaps not this year. Don't be hard on yourself if you don't feel either merry or bright. There's nothing wrong with you. You are mourning. Grieving, while one of the most intensely hurtful parts of life, is still just part of life. Honour your grief, honour yourself and what you have lost. It matters.
If you have friends who are moving through loss, please don't tell them what they are thinking, feeling or doing is wrong, self-indulgent, taking too long, not proper protocol, disrespectful to the person who died, not in line with your practices or beliefs or should be powered through.
Don’t ask them what they want for Christmas. They want their loved one back.
Ask "What do you need right now?" If they don't know, then just sit with them. Ask them to tell you about their loved one. Let them cry on your shoulder. Let them tell you the same story three times. Allow them feel safe with you while they grieve. There is no greater gift than a safe, no-expectations zone when you are deep in sadness.
Don't be afraid to bring your grieving pal a treat, tell them a joke or say "Let's go for a walk." Don't be afraid to cook them a meal or just sit and pet their dog or talk to their cat. Take out their garbage or wash their dishes if you notice they are too tired to do household stuff. Sweep their porch. Sit in silence with them if that's what they need. The smallest acts of care are huge to someone whose world is so scrambled by loss. You are not required to have any answers at all. The biggest gift is your time, your friendship, and it's more valuable than any vault of gold.
To everyone who is grieving during this holiday season, I see you. You are not invisible. You matter. You will be okay (different, but okay). Maybe not today, let's just get through today. Maybe not tomorrow, we will deal with that as it comes.
If there's something you want to do, do it. If there's not, don't. Don't be afraid to be happy. Don't be afraid to be sad. Don't be afraid to do both in the same hour if that's how you feel. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you. You are in grief. You have lost someone you loved deeply and forever. I will honour your loss with you.
We will get through this together.
Therra, you are so wise. 'Great timing for this message, too. Thank you for being you. xoxo
Thank you, Therra. I am pre-grieving. My Dad is dying, chemo stopped working months ago. I am doing some of the things you suggest, some for him and quite a few for myself. I needed to read this tonight.