As I stated in my blog a couple of weeks ago, holidays are difficult when we’ve recently experienced a loss. We sometimes dread them because we believe they’re supposed to be a happy time, and we just don’t have the energy to pull that off.
Below is a quote from Elizabeth Lesser in her book, BROKEN OPEN. In this section she is talking about grief, and how we do ourselves and our loved ones a disservice by trying to move on too quickly after the death of a loved one. Our society encourages this “quick fix” mentality of grief just like it does for other problems – take a pill, take a week off to get your affairs in order, and throw yourself back into work. This is one of the main reasons we have so many people with anxiety disorders and depression. We don’t allow the time and space to experience our feelings all the way through to the other side. (Gospel According to Patti)
What Elizabeth is saying goes for ANY loss. We need to learn to allow all the feelings to come and to sit with them. No one likes this. And sometimes it feels as if we’ll never be able to get past it, but she explains very well how it can work:
“To have a store of energy accumulated is to have a store of power in back of one. We live with our psychic energy in modern times much as we do with our money – mortgaged to the next decade.
Most modern people are exhausted nearly all the time and never catch up to an equilibrium of energy, let alone have a store of energy behind them. With no energy in store, one cannot meet any new opportunity. Keeping the gap open after the death of a loved one (or any loss) is a way of storing valuable energy.”
Once we’ve allowed that energy to be stored, we can then move on.
She goes on to say something I’ve always believed. I don’t like the concept of “closure”. It sounds so final, and to me, it means that the loss we just experienced is “done” and no longer has any meaning. When we grieve someone or something in our lives, we are honoring them/it. We’re never “over” loss. It’s difficult and it’s messy. But grief changes over time – not just by letting time pass (we have to DO something with the time). And sometimes it takes years to get there, but for most of us, it eventually turns into a feeling of love and connection with the loved one, rather than the original loss and pain.
In the mean time, if you’ve recently lost a loved one, experienced a relationship breakup, or some other major loss in your life, please remember to just take a day (or an hour) at a time. You may not believe you’ll ever feel like yourself again, but you will eventually find some level of equilibrium. You have been changed in some ways, because who we are is, in part, because of our connection with others. When their energy changes, ours will too. But you will find yourself again. Your job right now is to allow yourself to feel it when those waves hit; and to put it away for a few minutes or hours when that’s possible, and to connect with others who are there for you when you can manage that. The waves will gradually become a little less overwhelming; and will come a little less often.
And you can get through it and integrate it’s lessons into your life and come out stronger – and with more energy.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched, but are felt in the heart.” -Helen Keller