Posted by: wordofthevine | November 2, 2017

Good Grief! Making peace with Thanksgiving and Christmas When Life has Changed!

You may wonder why I’m writing about grief when we are approaching Thanksgiving and Christmas, two of the most upbeat holidays of the year. Fact is, too, that we just celebrated Halloween and All Saints Day a few days ago. It’s because life is full of opportunities to love and connect but also on the backside of this, if we’ve loved, also with times we grieve the loss of those same people and relationships when they are gone or changed. I’m dealing with my first holiday season as “emptynesters!” Holidays, especially family & friend oriented holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas are really hard to navigate when we are embroiled in grief. Everyone seems happy but us.

Our culture does not give us much support to feel our losses, to honor who and what we have lost. I’ve been struggling with the grief of having an empty nest. The last of our six children went off to college, a good thing. I’m enjoying my husband but I am grieving having the teenagers walking out for breakfast or coming home from school or friends. It seems I am absorbed at times in memories of what was. I notice this especially since we just moved to a new house where we did not raise the kids.While I am trying to savor the joy I felt in raising kids, in my relationships now with our growing young adult kids, I am also feeling sad about how my role in their lives have changed. I have not quite felt this change to the full or integrated this loss of role into who I am now. I am looking forward to having all of them return for the holidays but I am also not naive that it will be like old times. We have all grown.

As Dr. Allan Wolfelt, PhD, Director of the Center for Loss and Life Transition shared, “The integration of grief waits on welcome not on time.” We have to go into our feelings, feel them, appreciate who and what gives our lives meaning. We have to slow down turn inward for some time each day in order to heal and reap what the next stage of life holds for us. This is especially true at the Holidays! ~ Mary

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