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Holiday Grieving

“Watch your way then, as a cautious traveler, and don’t be gazing at that mountain or river in the distance and saying “How shall I ever get over them?” But keep to the present little inch that is before you, and accomplish that in the little moment that belongs to it. The mountain and the river can only be passed in the same way, and when you come to them, you will come to the light and strength that belong to them.”  — M.A. Kelty

After losing someone or something close to you, holidays can feel like that mountain in the distance, or a giant wave coming at you. And we build it up to be even bigger with our thoughts of how it “should” be or the way that it used to be. It’s helpful to try to detach from comparisons. Comparisons just set us up to feel even more disconnected and alone, the last thing we need when we are already in pain.

Connect with others. Try to surround yourself with others, so you’re not adrift in that sea by yourself. Maybe you can help prepare meals or deliver meals to those who aren’t able to get out. Maybe you can help out at an animal shelter. Or maybe visiting with neighbors, friends, family. Maybe you can host a gathering. Or, if that’s not possible, ask to join others’.

Create a new tradition. After my husband’s death, I felt the need to do Christmas differently than the way we had celebrated as a couple and then as a family. Although it was and is still hard, having a new tradition helped me to move into this new place, this new way of being.

Express your pain. Writing about it, talking about it, listening to music, crying, creating are all ways to honor your pain and express it. Your pain matters. Then release it into the accepting air or feel it drain into the ground, give it to God, whatever image is most helpful for you. Breathe in healing and love, and feel it surrounding you like a warm cloak.

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in the hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.  — Jamie Anderson

Give it a place to go. Love is healing.

I’m so sorry for your pain. Wishing you peace and love,


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