Grief and the Holidays

Remembering Those We’ve Lost and How We Move On

The holiday season is traditionally one of the most difficult times for me. It not only comes to represent my financial shortfall; but also, the people with whom I no longer celebrate. The people no longer living as well as those I still love but with whom I’m no longer connected. When push comes to shove, it’s the people who are still alive I still mourn.

Both my parents died during the month of December. While I still reminisce with sadness on occasion I don’t have the sense they have removed themselves from my life. Perhaps because I am so closely connected with Spirit I feel them around me when I am lonely or when I’m celebrating something. I am ever mindful of the energy surrounding me and I find comfort in the acceptance that this energy is a part of those who have passed before me.

It doesn’t mean I don’t miss their physical presence. I still sometimes want to call my mother and tell her about her beautiful great-grandson and what a happy child he is. I still occasionally want her advice on something. Usually it’s something that I can easily Google; but, when is a mother’s voice never preferable to a virtual encyclopedia? I miss my father’s sense of humor and I wish we had our weekly lunches again. When I begin to feel this way I talk to them as though we were sitting around the table again.

I think the holidays are hard for me because I miss the people who are still alive; those whose energy I cannot feel. The family and friends who have gone on without my presence in their life either due to choice or circumstances. I find it easier to feel the warmth of the energy surrounding me than to imagine what is no longer within my personal field.

I’ve come to the conclusion that this longing comes from my personal struggle with purpose. When I had to walk away from a situation I often find myself questioning how the relationship was handled. Certainly there were times when I did not take the right path and hurt people who were nothing but kind to me. Did I miss an opportunity? Did my own inability to come to terms with the circumstances lead me to cause someone else to lose their purpose? These are the things I grieve about most often. And yet, I know I did my best with what I had at the time and I must move on. Most of the time it’s not a problem. But…during the holidays.

Grief is a mugger. It sneaks up on you at odd times and in odd places. It can wrap its arms around you so tight you feel as you’ll suffocate and hold you in a grip until you process it. Only when you have acknowledged its presence and have given it your attention will it let go.

If you’re grieving this holiday, give it your attention. Allow yourself to acknowledge it. Call a friend and tell them about it. Hold a party for you and grief. Then, when the grip loosens, send it away.

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season.