On November 11th I was at a store called Home Goods getting what I thought was a head start on my Thanksgiving dinner decorations for NOVEMBER 28th hello? I just needed some Thanksgiving/fall napkins. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is blaring and I was having a moment. The store was very crowded for a Monday at 2pm. I stood very still taking in the energy of the entire experience thinking that this is nuts. I then turned to the lovely lady in my aisle and said, “Can you hear the Christmas music?” She looked at me and said, “I just noticed that.” In a soft counseling kind of way I said, “How do you feel about that?” She replied, “I’m not ready for all this.” Further exploration of this Christmas phenomenon was required for my brain. The cashier then asks, “Did you find everything you need?” I said, “No, there are no Thanksgiving Napkins in your store. “She replied, “Thanksgiving is like the middle-child.” Thanksgiving? A time to celebrate what we are grateful for, a middle-child? No thank you, I will not accept that ever. I love Thanksgiving because it is about time shared with family and friends. Gratitude for what we have which becomes so much stronger after loss. Time together becomes precious.
As I went through this experience my heart was kind of shaken, I found myself getting very annoyed and could not wait to get out of the store. My experience is that most people are grieving; not counting my clients, but everyone in my entire family has lost a loved one. Granted, over time it does get a little bit easier, but during the holidays our hearts are tested, we become easily triggered by sight, songs, smells. My motto? “Don’t fall for all of this, step away from it.” Who is in charge of all this anyway? The simple answer is you. You get to make the choice. If you are one of the many walking around with grief, know that you’re the one that gets to make the decisions about protecting your own heart. This is the fourth year my mother is not on this earth and what upsets me is the insensitivity of time, precious time spent with family. Thanksgiving is a time OF gratitude for family, for our loved ones that are here and those who have gone before us. I don’t want this article to turn into a ranting session so I will stop there but you get the picture.
What I do know is that during the holidays changing it up can help a grieving heart. No one says you have to jump into that mess of consumerism. What will help your heart? Staying out of the stores during peak hours even if it’s just grocery shopping. If you’re buying gifts, keep it to what you can handle. Pay attention to how you are feeling during the holidays. What I mean by this if you find yourself in a store or at a party and it is too much, it’s okay to leave. Sometimes it is a good idea to have a time frame and to let your family and friends know your time frame. If they don’t understand or think you should be further along by now in your grief, that is their issue not yours. I tend to get a little protective of grieving people because those that are not grieving cannot understand what you’re going through. Their intentions are good and they want you to be happy. Simply being mindful of what you can and cannot handle especially during the holidays is important to keep you balanced. This applies especially to those in their early stages of grief, which can realistically be the first 2 years.
I read a few articles on “Holiday Blues” but I feel what is happening on earth this time of year is rather extreme. It is like people are in a fog just trying to get through it. The holiday marketing cycles are forced on us. The peace of what of what the holidays and everyday should be all about is something that we have to cultivate.
Taking this discussion one step further is the wisdom that death can bring if we are open to it. In many of my articles I talk about the innate wisdom that is there waiting to be reaped. If you don’t answer the call of that wisdom how will you know how to find your way back to you and your own heart? The holidays can pull us outside of that innate wisdom adding stress and pressure, going into the future. Everything you need comes from inside of you. Death is one of the biggest teachers; it can bring up everything unlike itself. When I walked into that store I simply needed napkins. That’s it. While I walked around, I could feel the energy, rushed, chaotic, even the cashier was desensitized when she said to me, “Thanksgiving is the middle child.” The middle child tends to be overlooked, inherits the hand-me-downs and is usually left to kind of fend for him/herself. When I heard that my wisdom kicked in it was an Aha! moment.
You will grieve your loved one for as long as you need as there is no set time, right or wrong way to grieve. During the holidays let their precious spirits guide you. Remind yourself of what you learned during their passing: the deepness, the closeness, and the love you shared. What they shared with you throughout their lives is what matters most. Do what makes you happy these next couple of months. Believe me, if you stay with that you’re going to be ok.
I miss Thanksgiving with my mother; it was amazing when she was here. This year’s Thanksgiving is at my house and moms beautiful spirit will be close by helping me. Being close together in honor of her love is my own wisdom shining through because I know my siblings and their loved ones will leave this earth too someday, and I want them to know how grateful I am to have them in my life.