by: Deb Rosman author of, The Grieving Heart a collection of poetry and prose about loss, hope and living. Shares an excerpt from her book that anyone struggling with grief will be able to relate.
Holidays aren’t always a celebrated time for all. Especially if you are feeling the pain and sadness of a personal loss. I’ve asked myself, when do you stop counting the anniversary of a loved one’s passing? During major holidays we historically reflect on the past. Memories can be comforting and fun. Often reflection translates into an acute awareness, of the absence, of those who have made their transitions. The following is an excerpt from my book which touches on the rawness of a loved ones lost but in the end speaks of the importance of being able to let go of your pain and move forward.
We love to note things. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, annual holidays; we rack up the years doing that. So, of course, we note the annual passing of people we held most dear, ones who have become lost to us in this life.
Sometimes we take the day off to reflect or visit a grave. At times we get flowers or cards from people letting us know they are thinking of us, or maybe even sharing our pain.
I have just come upon the first-year anniversary of losing you, Mom. I miss you so much. I hate the fact I can no longer reach out and touch. I want to talk to you and hear you talking back, not just in my head imagining the things you might have said.
If I allow myself too much time to dwell, the emptiness of your passing threatens to consume me. My heart yearns, aches and nearly breaks. The sobs swell so much in my chest and tumble out in choking gasps. Tears sear like fire rolling in hot torrents onto my cheeks. This feels a little bit like Hell, so needless to say I don’t allow myself too much time to dwell.
Funny, but when Dad died, I just wanted to hold on tightly to that very same grief. I was intensely afraid that the moment I let it go, the moment I didn’t feel agonizing pain, he would truly be gone from my life forever. Eventually I realized that he would not want me to live in despair.
My sweet sister Sherri, because the cancer ravaged her poor body, her death was a relief. Even though sadness poured from my every fiber, I was in a better place knowing that she was no longer suffering.
But this time, it is the anniversary of Mom, who was also my best friend. I don’t know how to do this. Part of me wants it to be a big huge production, but the more I think about it, perhaps I will just have a simple meal that Mom would make. I will eat lima bean soup followed by a chocolate treat, “just a little something sweet” followed by a one-sided conversation and a nice long cry.
People never want others to weep but I know for a fact crying is good, for tears are the pressure valve to the soul. They can bring with them a flood of relief. Living life to its fullest includes grieving. It really is ok to be sad, as long as you don’t let it consume you. With the sweet comes the sour; one cannot have the yin without the yang; darkness with always be followed by daylight; sunshine will always come after the rain.
Here are some suggestions for easing discomfort.
If you are experiencing a recent loss or a not so recent loss that has simply taken the wind out of your sails, the best thing you can do, is to accept this is where you are at. Still you can shift your focus, even if only minutely and moment by moment, onto things that do bring you joy. One example; if you have lost a partner who you have raised a family with and you find yourself bereaved, try to shift your focus onto your children or grandchildren as many times as needed.
Often times people have pretty much dealt with the grieving process but find themselves blindsided during the holidays, especially if any particular holiday was a favorite of their loved one. My suggestion here is to embrace their favorite traditions. I will be making my mom’s baked beans for Christmas Eve. This not only keeps me feeling connected to her but it is also a delicious tribute.
Last but far from least is understanding the concept that we are vibrational beings. Our loved ones, who have made their transitions, still vibrate energy and it isn’t just my belief it is based in physics. I found relief years ago when I came across the following in a physics book that read, energy cannot be destroyed it can only change form. Our soul, spirit or what we call our personality is energy. True our physical selves have a shelf life but the energy side of us is eternal.
I hope this brings you some relief if you are having a difficult time. You are where you are and that is fine. My final suggestion today is, if you can quiet your mind and look for your loved one where they dwell now instead of where they used to be, then you might just be pleasantly surprised.