It’s the most wonderful time of year.*
*but not for everyone
I’ve intended to write this post for weeks now, but I’ve struggled with exactly what to say. I don’t want to go all BAH HUMBUG on the holidays, but it’s important to acknowledge that this time of year can feel particularly un-holly and un-jolly for people who are grieving.
More than any other time of year, we place emphasis on being merry and bright — on brimming with joy and good cheer. We celebrate with loved ones as we share our gratitude for the year and our hope for the next one. It’s all very … festive.
Grief comes down the chimney with gut punches on regular ol’ days, and, during the holidays, grief can feel like the gift that keeps on giving.
Traditions may not feel quite right anymore. Ornaments take us on a jaunt down memory lane, which can be harrowing. Beautiful holiday cards bring us joy in one moment, but they can quickly transform into stark reminders that our family is no longer complete. Wish lists and exchanging gifts are reminders that the most precious things can’t be bought.
'Tis the season. Amen. Hallelujah. Joy to the freakin' world.
I was thinking the other day that I might never again have the level of emotional energy I had before Ramón died. And I try not to judge that as good or bad — rather, it just is. It’s like I’m a computer and the grief program is always running in the background, consuming energy whether I’m aware of it or not.
Be kind to people who you know are grieving. The thought of leaving the house is too much at times. Going out with the purpose of celebrating is WAY much.
Sometimes the happiest moments are the hardest to stomach. With grief, even moments of pure joy carry a certain bittersweetness, wishing so-and-so was there for one more meal, one more group photo, or one more hug.
If your heart is hurting this month, I get it. Do what helps you maintain inner peace, even if it’s not what you "used" to do or "should" do.
May the Grinch be with you. Season’s Grievings!