Grief and Winter Solstice

During the holiday season, I spend time reflecting on my life, what has happened in the past year and what does the new year look like.

There is a poem that speaks of the dash between the dates. It is about how you lived your life between the day you were born and the day you die. This is one of the lines that catch my attention, “We can fill our dash with goodness or waste life away.”

The poem goes on to encourage us to look for opportunities to do something good, and help others in need. Those actions will be loved by all who knew us, and our memories will become dear. For when we are gone, those memories will bring those who loved us to celebrate our lives through tears. It wraps up with “to all whose lives were touched by the dash between the years.”

It has been 31 years since my daughter died, 4 for my son, 23 for my dad, 13 for my sister, and 8 for my mom. Those dashes are 9 months, 24, 69, 53, and 81 years correspondingly. Each one of those dashes represents a beautiful, wonderful life. I am blessed to have known them, loved them, and experienced life with each of them.

The holidays also bring grief. December 21 is the Winter Solstice, which marks the shortest day of the year, the longest night, and is the official beginning of the winter season.

Right now, in the changing of the seasons, your grief may be heavier and darker than usual. This is the perfect time to sit with your grief, honor that it exists, and don’t fight it. You may have mourning left undone. Give it the time and space that is needed to feel it. It is important to recognize your grief.

There are things that you can do to honor your loved one, and help you to process your grief. Consider starting a new ritual that brings forth comfort and warmth, may it be looking at pictures of your loved one, lighting a candle, or saying a prayer. It is whatever helps you.

Today, December 22 is a new day. It is one day closer to Spring and the days are getting longer, slowly, surely, minute by minute. The sun will rise earlier and earlier, bringing with it a new dawn. This is a time that you can be assured that there is renewal and hope. Your grief will lessen. Your joy will return. You will find peace and happiness.



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