Picking Up the Pieces After a Loss
by Linda Gullo
Losses leave us broken and feeling detached from everything. We grabble to make sense of it all, as our minds are invaded from memories, songs we once held dear, and guilty feelings of what we did or didn’t say. We try picking up the pieces and they seem to crumble in our attempt to do so.
When my mother died two days after Thanksgiving, I was consumed with sadness. Not only was I feeling empty inside, but desperately looking for the right words to tell my dad. He was at home, but unable to do very much on his own. He had suffered a stroke a few years before and it didn’t take much to bring him down.
Here I am some 35 years later and still I can feel the grief. Little did I know how close I was to losing my father too. 90 days later I was arranging for his funeral. He was literally broken hearted and wanted to be with her.
If you have lost a loved one, you know how suddenly your clarity and vision are clouded. So I share these ideas as we move into the Holiday Season. Grief traps us now more than at any time, because the holidays are meant to be happy. Somehow the grief consumes us and locks out the permission to be joyful. Even after one gets past the “it isn’t fair” syndrome, our emotional balance is unsteady. Picking up the pieces is like a puzzle that takes time.
Over the years, I began to focus on the beautiful loving things my mother did for us. She patiently wrapped each Christmas gift with tissue paper and added holly to the curling ribbon bows. I only wish I had someone to walk through this journey with me to help me recognize these better times. I wanted so to relish in the beauty and show my respect to her, but I didn’t know how.
For all our loved ones who have died, maybe this is the ideal time–“the holiday season, that is,” to pass on some of their characteristics, their stories, and their attitudes to the next generation. Feeling the feelings and moving them aside in their honor is a good thing.
Listen in the coming week to our podcast, as Kate and I share our ideas to “Self Care during the Holidays.” Enjoy the week and have a Blessed day!
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