After the holidays, grief pounds the pavement sometimes…

Once the holidays end, the decorations put away, the travel plans and events all over, so many seem to feel the “post holiday sads, the niggling feelings of loss/grief, things that just aren’t right within”.  It reminds me of the blur of activities that we know happen during holidays; from soldiers receiving tons of mail, to Nursing Homes receiving school kids singing and an influx of volunteers, faith communities visiting… all spreading joyous noise and concerns. It reminds me of times when folks gather after an event, both good and sad, but then just as after a funeral, there becomes a time of deafening silence, a time when the casserole dishes have been cleaned and returned and so many have time to sit, and to feel the looses… At times what they are feeling is not only the sudden and overwhelming winter snow storm and polar vortex… they are being visited by grief, new or old, the feelings that take your breath away and leave you weak in the knees from time to time.  The grief that leaves you wondering if you are “doing it right” according to the many books that are written, the research being done, the helping professions and or support groups attended or read about, or that others have shared. Talk about complexities, about wondering… about tangled tinsel of emotions…Grief is not just a response or reaction following a death of physical form or a person or something we have loved and held precious.
It is experienced by inches at times
when something or someone we love
is close to us,right beside us or
within us!
Many will speak of those feelings and experience the many and varied stages of
loss and grief during times of upheaval in their lives, grief in the holidays,in times of great change. I haven’t heard through the decades of many groups or events that have addressed “grief after the holidays” though… Seems everyone is too busy catching up, catching their breaths and trying to return to busy lives and a New Year each and every year with the hope of it being different, better, and with more resolutions than intentions.
There are many that sat dazed through the holidays, others who are joyous while wondering what it is that seems so different, after wondering what it is that hit them with such a force that it takes their very breath.
Many now will think it has been this frigid air, the winter storm that has temperatures and nerves raw. 
Could it be also that grief has snuck in on the snowflakes?
Often I’ve heard people describe
grief responses when one they love is ill,
when a major/significant change has occurred
in their world.  I’ve watched as others process their thoughts, actions, feelings when disappointments in others feel like loss as they filter rights vs. responsibilities and love feels like a hot blade to the heart in actions. Grief comes as a result of so many things; and can devastate, wound, and take time, each individual’s time to move through it.

Times that create those reactions
in your life when your world seems upside own; when you are split between surreal and real. There may be times when words that are hard to muster,
it doesn’t quite make sense in the grand view of how it has been planned out.
Friendships, family members, bonds that were suppose to last forever
that somehow change
lead to
separation, detachment, estrangement,
for examples.
When you think you know someone
have built a foundation
a relation
based, fostered, created and nourished
on love, support, right way relations, thoughts/beliefs/truth/trust intimately.  There are others that have found their voice to say, “no more”, “I am done”, they have in effect decided to “stand”… yet it creates a loss, a grieving process that at times may be as painful as watching a casket be lowered into the ground. Each individual is unique in their own path, their feet fit only their shoes, no other.
At times people will talk about knowing
the place they work, the people they spend the bulk of their time with, the organizations that they dedicate their service to, ones they represent and
do their best for.
Many across the country now
feel they have no voice anymore,
feel that they are just there to fill a space,
afraid to say what they think or feel.
For if they do?
They have seen others be told,
“if you don’t like it … Leave”.
There have been relationships similar to that type of toxic work environment,
built on belief systems, trust, honesty
and time given to nurture,  foster
a greater love to sustain through years
in the good and bad times.
But something changes.
Well hell everything changes,
we all change,
but some things are just supposed to stay the same right?
When we give, love, nurture, honor
and trust.
We mourn our dreams, our youth, our health
well you can get the drift here.
Grief is a frequent companion in all phases
of life.
We find our belief and trust
our feelings; that it is reciprocal
over time,
we’ve been taught that, if we are
we’ve been loved or respected for who we are
our word, that love will be returned in similar ways.
When relationships fail,
during the times that they begin to fall apart,
there are signs and symptoms
not only the failed relationships
that often get missed;
but it just may be that our vision is clouded
as a result
of experiencing
GRIEF as it is happening.
Grief takes you off your game, so to speak.
Things begin to not make sense,
vision gets cloudy,
many are not hearing the very words that are being said.
Others are hearing only parts of the sentence,
and those parts are the ones that are hoped for
rather that what is being intended.
People begin to see only what is hoped for,
what was rather than what is.
in all its wonder
can color the view like a kaleidoscope
depending who is looking through that narrow opening
the view will look different and continually change and the other end is manipulated.
Loss is Loss
it truly is painful
takes time, quiet, support, work, creativity and understanding to get through it.
It is grief; it is a journey that will grab you and make you pay attention.
It also will make people question why you call it grief!
Many will not understand
how could you feel you are grieving when no one has died; many will ask why and how could you grieve when you chose to walk away from a relationship.
It is in those times
that your grief feels disenfranchised
not acknowledged by those you may need the most.
There have been some relationships
in which it has taken
30 years for someone to show another
“who they are”
and it is only then that hard choices have to be made, and the words of
Maya Angelou will never be more true.
“When someone shows you who they are,
believe them”
Working with people with Alzheimer’s
and listening to family members
one often hears grief expressed
and not “anticipatory grief” that is read about.
But very real grief, as families express their daily losses, of watching, hearing, witnessing the loss of a loved one while they are still alive.
Their grief is real alive
along with the person they love.
At the time of a funeral yes there will be a finality, a sadness, but often one will hear families and friends declare,
“I did my grieving while they were alive”
“I lost him/her a long time ago”.
“To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness” Erich Fromm
Yes, grief in its complexities, the emotions, feelings, physical spiritual emotional
is tremendous.
It happens as we mourn our youth,
our dreams,
our loved ones who are no longer sitting across the table.
It happens as friendships are dissolved
bonds that we knew would last forever are disrupted and choices are made to
end relationships
and just walk away; walk away mad, angry, hurt, astonished or
as enemies. It happens as it happens and for reasons it happens, all seasons have reasons, their are new beginnings in each ending.
It happens as we see 1/2 of all marriages and unions ending in divorce;
there are still upsurges of grief reactions.
Life at its best/worst
Life in all its splendor
through painful loveliness.
And still,
wants to talk about
loss, death, grief,
and yet we bear witness to it,
go through it
each second, each minute, each hour
of each and every day.  Well maybe some do, especially those in the fields of hospice, palliative care, end of life business. We do talk about it more now than ever, there were even death dinners of late; death cafes’ where folks could sit and gnaw on the subject.
Men and women, and children all talk about”it” differently, all feel about it differently, all experience it differently and often the same.
We cannot touch the same water twice, feel the same wind caress our face twice, each and ever time our heart beats, it is similar but different.. and grief in its many faces seems to visit around this time of the year, yet goes unnoticed to so many.
Pay attention to your body, your soul, your heart and mind…
“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief ~ But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love. ~ Hilary Stanton Zunin ~
There are sometimes
when everyone has or will say
and in that saying
it will be final,
there will be a point of no turning back
yet even then their will be grief triggered,
but it will also be a time when there is a final and clear resolution to a time and a relationship.
In that way it is most compelling
so very different from grieving a most beloved treasured loved one,
on with whom you are now faced with finding ways to continue the relationship in a healthy and most different way.
But yes,
grief will and is
playing out in our lives right this minute
probably in ways unimagined.
And yes,
“good-bye” is the only thing left to say.
I know that no one likes to feel it,
no one likes to talk about it,
no one
really likes to have to deal with it.
perhaps that is why we get so very involved when grief is made public,
when stars and celebs die,
when grief is then sanctioned
and given a voice.
YOU are as if not more important,
you and that which is sacred to you
are as important as anything or anyone.
We have to learn to talk, feel openly,
in order to heal.
Sure wish we could bring back rituals
that allowed others in the community to recognize those who are grieving,
perhaps it would make for a kinder place
one that allowed others to relate easier.
Remember those black armbands?
Back when the community knew that if a person got on an elevator looking like they had lost their best friend,
the could tell at a glance that indeed they had
Wherever you are,
Whatever you are doing today,
I wish you all that you dare to dream. 
Walk In Beauty,
“keepin it real”
for speaking inquiries and to pass along to those who may have an interest!
Thanks for being here!

4 comments on “After the holidays, grief pounds the pavement sometimes…

  1. Thank you for validating how grief can turn your world upside down. My whole family is gone now, (parents and three siblings) so holidays are tough. I was thinking this latest plunge into the black hole was due to the holiday blues, but after reading this, I am rethinking it. I find it particularly difficult to share my feelings because people don’t know what to say and I can sense they’re uncomfortable. They’re also glad they are not me. As a well-being person said the other day “I can’t imagine losing all your siblings. I can’t even bear the thought of losing one.” I just smiled but was thinking … nor can I.

    • Thank you for reading, and please accept my condolences of your many losses. It is hard to share a journey that most will never understand as it is not theirs but so important to say the names of those we love, lose as we continue relationships so very differently … may you walk on, “nor can I” is an answer that speaks volumes. Blessings to you now and always.

      • Thank you. I have done a lot of writing about my trauma and personal loss. It helps. Actually the first thing I ever wrote was published in The Compassionate Friends – We Need Not Walk Alone, an organization I see you are familiar with. 🙂
        I look forward to reading Healing Heartaches as soon as I finish Down The Hallway! (I sent you a message via your “author” site, wasn’t sure if you check there.)

      • Thank you for reading Down The Hallway, I have not seen your mail, but will certainly look forward to it, along with your review on the book! Writing helps, and yes, The Compassionate Friends are good friends indeed. We need not walk alone, and truly we are never really alone as they walk with us, only a breath away, blessings to you as you walk your walk dear one.

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