Grief is a natural response to the loss of something, so where better to look for understanding about grief and loss than to nature itself? If we look at the seasons, we can gain understanding about how grief affects us and how we can support ourselves as we move through our own seasons of grief.

Winter arrives the moment we find out about our loss. Like a blanket of snow the covers the ground, our knowledge that everything has changed stops us in our tracks. This is the time to rest and allow yourself space and time to recover. Just as attempting to drive in a snowstorm is madness so is hiding your loss behind a whirl of activity. By giving yourself time, you will be able to process your loss quicker.

Spring allows our hope to return and we start to see positive changes in our emotions. Just like the first buds of flowers bursting through the snow give us hope that relief from winter is on its way. We can start to see a way through our grief. We have contemplated its meaning and its effects on our life. We start to make small changes in our lives that help us adapt to the change.

Summer allows the positive changes and emotions to come into full bloom just like flowers. It is a time of lightness and energy where we have adapted to the changes in our lives since our loss. We are capable of enjoying life again. We bask in the life and the winter of our grief seems like a distant memory.

Autumn lets us gather our experiences together and start to reflect on them. We can acknowledge just how far we have came since our loss. Also we can learn to see the blessings behind our loss as it gave us room to grow new aspects to our lives. Just like the harvest, we store this knowledge within to help us through any further periods of winter.

Seasons blend into each other. It’s possible to journey into spring, see the first flowers bloom, only to have winter suddenly appear and shock us with its wintery breath. We can be taken by surprise just like with our grief. One moment we feel more positive about our loss, then something unexpected and unknown happens to draw us back into the winter of our grief. We can still experience the occasional spring shower in summer that dents our confidence and reminds us that we have not completely lost the pain of our loss.

From observing nature, we can understand that grief has its own rhythm and timing that we cannot change. Yet we can nurture it and like our actions (largely negative, but that’s another story!) have affected the seasons, careful action on our part can help our seasons of grief to go faster. This way we can experience the journey through grief, finding the blessings and beauty every step of the way.

We also learn that grief is a continuous cycle of adaption to loss, but the same careful nurturing of our seasons can make our summers longer and our winters less harsh.

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Tabitha Jayne

Tabitha Jayne is a leading expert in the field of grief and growth coaching, having first developed an interest in the topic following the sudden death of her younger brother. The founder of “Transform Grief. Live Fully. Thrive Loss” coaching and workshops, Tabitha is also the creator of “Tree of Transformation”, a five-step process that helps individuals fully let go of grief and transform loss into a lasting legacy that positively impacts both themselves and the world. Her latest book is Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose. She is also a contributing author in Open to Hope: Inspirational stories of healing after loss and has presented on The Transformative Power of Nature in Grief and Loss at the International Conference on Grief and Bereavement in Contemporary Society and the ADEC Annual Conference. She is also the Head Coach of Grief & Growth Coaching at the International Coach Academy. She says, “The death of my brother was the most profound experience and loss in my life. It made me realise that life is too short and challenged me to transform my own life into something that I was proud of. Despite all the pain and anguish, all the tears and hurt, my brother dying is one of the best things that happened to me. Peter motived me to learn to live life fully both as tribute to him and to gain meaning from tragedy.” Tabitha is a Certified Professional Coach from the International Coach Academy and an Associate Certified Coach with the International Coaching Federation. Her academic background is in Psychology with a BSc (Hons) from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh where she conducted research into “Attachment and the Type of Loss Experienced by the Bereaved in Continuing Bonds”. She is currently completing a M.S. in Applied Ecopsychology and Coaching in Grief and Growth with Project NatureConnect, The Institute of Global Education. Prior to founding ‘Transform Grief. Live Fully. Thrive Loss’ and working with clients worldwide helping them to live more and grieve less, Tabitha was the co-founder and director of Pedro Project, a non-profit organization which ran for 6 years providing information, advice and support to help bereaved young people. During this time she was a finalist in the Everywoman 2004 awards as well as Cosmopolitan´s Fun, Fearless Female 2006 Awards. She was also featured in The Sun, The Sunday Post Magazine, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Edinburgh Evening News and on local and regional radio as well as in the Channel 4 documentary for young adults entitled “Losing You” Get your free audio of the Introduction and Chapter One of Thriving Loss: Move beyond grief to a place of peace, passion and purpose at www.tabithajayne.com

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