This time of year is all about joy, right? Yes, except when it’s not. This time of year there is more than enough sorrow for many. Some of it is due to depression which spikes at this season–more on that tomorrow, but this is a time when we mourn those we have lost. Without acknowledging the grief, we can’t fully give ourselves to the joy.
I often hear people berate themselves for falling apart at the holidays. It’s been x amount of time since someone died (or left your life in another painful way and once again…or still…the grief is there. Or maybe you’re mourning the loss of a career or a skill or your health.
Whatever the loss, the mantra is the same as time goes by. “Shouldn’t I be over this? What’s wrong with me?” the person wonders. There is some notion that we should be strong and finished with grieving. Where did we get the idea that there was a timetable for grieving, something we can set our watch by and then be done with? Grief, by it’s very nature, is an out of control feeling and so we want to control it, but we can’t.
I’d like to propose a new perspective. Instead of thinking about grief as indicative that something is wrong, how about using them as a barometer of the depth of our love? Whatever we lost, we loved so much that even all this time later we still feel tender. To me, that sanctifies our sorrow as a testimony to our love.
A step beyond that is to do something to anticipate the grief of the holiday time and proactively celebrate it. Create art or a ritual of some sort in remembrance of whoever or whatever you have lost. The act of acknowledgment helps you to accept the loss, to express the wave of grief, and let it move through you. In its wake you will find stillness and beyond that, joy. Try it for yourself. I hope you’ll post your experience with it.
I wish you a season of rich, moist joy.