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November 30, 2019

How to Cope with Grief during the Holidays.

The holidays stir up so many memories and emotions.

You might be missing family and friends that have passed away. You might be wondering how we can celebrate the holidays without them; it won’t be the same.

Give yourself a chance to sit with your grief before you get lost in the holiday to-do list.

When I ask, what is your grief telling you? What do you hear? Hopefully, it’s not a busy signal.

Yes, your grief is talking to you. Not like a hairdresser, or your best friend, it’s talking to you more like your fourth-grade teacher, but quieter.

First, let’s say that grief can come in many forms—loss of a job, divorce, or even loss of a pet. But for hospice, we are referring particularly to the loss of a friend or family member. Not to say that the rest of the other forms of grief aren’t being as chatty, but let’s focus on the grief conversation from losing a person close to you.

There seems to be at least two conversations that can take place. One is about regrets, disappointments, things you wish you had done differently, fear, and maybe anger.

The other conversation, the one that I’m referring to, is one where your grief might be trying to push you to a different level, a level of transformation. “Who am I?” “Are you happy with your life?” “Is there anything you want to change?” “What relationships would you like to see improved?” or “How do you want to see yourself in the world?”

The grief conversation is the last gift our loved ones leave for us. It is the gift of listening to what our own spirit is telling us. It has us examine our mortality, and it checks in to see if we are following our dreams, or if we are just trying to get through the day. The only way to hear this gifted conversation is in the silence, in the quiet. Not in the busy work we do, trying to outrun grief. But in the stillness where you can connect with yourself again and listen to the quiet calling of that voice deep inside. The conversation will always be there, waiting for us. The question is, are you ready to hear it?

Here are a couple of ideas to start tapping into that conversation:

1. Find a quiet place, where you know you won’t be interrupted for at least 30 minutes. Don’t forget to mute your phone. Then ask yourself a question that resonates with you, such as “What do I want my life to look like?” Sit in the silence and you might hear a faint faint whisper of an answer.

2. Take a walk in nature. Ask your question before the walk and then enjoy the nature around you. If you’re walking in your neighborhood, try to engage more in the beauty of the trees than people watching. This is a time to connect with yourself, not others.

The conversation will seem like nothing at first. But with time, it can become an important part of your life.

Grief is calling. Happy Listening!

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