Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.-C.S. Lewis
The holiday season from Thanksgiving through the new year is fraught with emotional turmoil–sometimes ripples, sometimes earthquakes. This season seems to be one of the times when grievers are constantly beaten up with reminders of what we are grieving. Ads and commercials reminding us to buy gifts for everyone on our lists and have a holly, jolly time are endless slaps in the face for what we don’t get to do anymore and who we no longer get to do it with. Our society ignores the fact that holidays can be reminders of sadness and pain.
This is the groundhog day part of grief: we know every day that we’re grieving, yet we are surrounded by daily reminders (especially right now) that we’re grieving and that our holiday season just isn’t the same as it used to be…and it won’t be the same ever again.
What is there to meditate on this time of year except that we are grieving and that we have lost someone important to us? The better question may be: how do we cope with these reminders, especially at this time of year? On what can we meditate to make these daily reminders of grief serve our grieving process in a positive and supportive way?
Some days we just have to be sad. We relish other days living in the memories we shared with our loved one(s) during the past holiday seasons. Some days we may wonder what they would have given us this year. Other days we pass something we would have bought for them, triggering a deep emotional flood.
Can we meditate on the endless reminders of loss that we don’t need this week? Can we meditate on how these reminders hurt and maybe stir up jealous feelings for those people who don’t live with these reminders? Can we meditate on how we might help each other through this season, rather than worrying about getting everything ordered before the holiday shipping deadlines hit?
Can we meditate on being better, more compassionate, and more loving to each other this time of year because we know how awful it feels on the other side of the happy holiday-ness?
How can we support others who feel just like us during the holiday season?