Holiday Grief- what is it? How does it differ from other grief?
What is grief anyway?
These are but a few questions you might want to explore as we
move ever deeper into the holidays, the season of celebration,
gift-giving/receiving, parties and gatherings of various sizes
Grief is not a feeling; it is a heavy and complex emotion
(energy-in-motion) containing every imaginable feeling in the
human psyche. When someone experiences the loss of a loved one, a
spouse, a child, a parent (not just from death but from any
tragedy), grief emotes powerfully to pull you down to where you
can safely begin to feel yourself without that which you’ve lost.
Grief provides a safe haven, a kind of hospice where you can tend
your wounds, grow new skin, encourage the scabs to form and
thicken, so that you rise back up into the world as a new
However, many people choose to ignore this gift of Grief and
rather than actively grieve, they passively carry their grief
inside, sometimes for the rest of their lives, accumulating more
and more grief. Numbed out to their own feelings, they push
forward as if nothing has happened to them, as if they have not
been irrevocably changed; they choose to live a lie. Their bodies
then have to adjust to the deadness it is forced to carry inside;
eventually that becomes disease. On the outside, it shows up in
depressed feelings, temper tirades, road rage, jealousy, guilt,
shame, and projections onto others.
It is amazing how forceful people can become in their attempts to
hide their grief from their own conscious awareness. They even
convince themselves that if they close their eyes to it, so will
everyone else. Not true. It is in the air we breathe. We breathe
each others’ air. We exchange each others’ realities and each
others’ fantasies. Surely you’ve heard it said, “Magic is in the
air;” or “Death is in the air.” That is true. So too is: “Grief
is in the air.”
Depending upon how well you know yourself, how well you own your
own feelings, grieve your losses, and ground yourself in your own
center, that will determine the real choices you actually have in
filtering the air you breathe. In these days when toxicity is
killing everything that lives and breathes and drinks water, we
need filters to maintain good health. The same is true for our
psyches. This filtering begins by asking ourselves the questions
we’ve not dared to ask, maybe have not dared to even imagine.
During the holidays and on the anniversaries of a tragic event,
Grief usually offers us another opportunity to grieve losses not
fully grieved for the purpose of healing. If you can feel the
feelings rising up inside you, you can choose whether and how you
will receive this unexpected and precious gift- the opportunity
to create new life.
? 2005 Mary Richardson
Mary Richardson is a transformational facilitator. She assists people who are in the midst of chaotic life changes and transition. Guiding them in the journey through the chaos, she helps them tap into their own resilience and recreate their lives. You can contact Mary at: [email protected].
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