Holidays can be trying in so many ways, but I think none more trying than for those that have lost a loved one. Especially if it is the 1st Holiday Season without their loved one.
I had the honor of having another very late-night conversation with a very dear friend of mine the other day. He lost his son a few months ago to suicide, I can only imagine the rollercoaster ride of emotions that go with a parent losing a child. We usually have late night texting conversations, but this time was different. I could tell he was feeling a bit heavier than before, so I decided a conversation would be better.
We spoke about so many things, the heaviness he was feeling with the thought that he didn’t do enough, the enormous hole in his heart for the thought of not being able to hug or converse with his son again. I allowed him to voice all he needed to, trying to support when I could and encourage him to know that there was nothing he could have done. This was a path that his son was on and it was his to navigate.
We also spoke about a few of our friends that have also lost children over the years. We discussed how they died, overdose, car accident, sickness and came to the absolute conclusion that it does not matter. It is sad that even in death suicide carries astigmatism. A loss is a loss, how does not matter, the pain is still there, and it is very real.
We also discussed how difficult it is sometimes to go anywhere. That sometimes it can be uncomfortable, and I really had to look inside for this one. I know myself, in the past, I have avoided some people because I didn’t know what to say to them and I didn’t want to upset them. Since I have reawakened my soul I see things so differently. Now I realize that it’s ok to just be there and hug them, it’s ok to just listen and let them share or cry, it’s ok to sit in silence with them and let them know they are not alone, that this pain they are feeling will become more bearable. It’s ok to not be able to “fix” a situation, sometimes the best thing you can do is just “be”.
If you know someone that has lost a loved one don’t avoid them, don’t be afraid to bring up the person they have lost or to say their name. Don’t worry about whether you are going to make them think about their loved one and disrupt what may be a “good day”….. Don’t worry about any of these things just love them and hold a space of healing and strength for them.
Think of a great memory you have of their loved one and then tell them. Say “Hey, I was just thinking about ***** the other day and that time that he ……..” This solidifies that their loved one’s life had meaning, that their time here on this earth meant something. You’re not going to upset them. I promise you, not a minute of the day goes by that they are not thinking about their loved one. Sometimes, it’s hard to think about them and not go down the rabbit hole of despair and sadness. What a gift you can give to them by sharing a beautiful memory and pulling them out of that vibration for a bit. When you share a memory, you honor the loved one that has crossed.
Remember, every person grieves in their own way. There are no rules to grieving. Allow people to feel all the feelings they need to and please know that every loss holds the same pain and deserves the same respect and love.
In closing, it is more important than ever to remember self-care at this time of the year. This can be something as simple as taking a bath in the middle of the afternoon or sitting in your car in a parking lot and doing meditation to re-center and ground yourself.