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Let's talk about grief, bay-be

Content Warning: I am going to talk about death of a loved one.

Grief sucks worse than an ice cream cake without the fudgy crunch layer.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but sometimes it is nice to hear someone else say it.

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about grief lately and have been dreading December. Now that it’s here, it’s time to talk about it.

We experience grief when there is any kind of loss, not just when someone has died. I’ve helped my friends, family, and clients grieve:

  • Change in friendship/partnership

  • Health diagnosis

  • Change in job (voluntary and involuntary)

  • Leaving the comfort of their comfort zone

  • Change in world view/perspective

  • The experience their past selves went through

  • Losing a loved one

Grief takes time and is not the same for everyone. It comes and goes and comes and goes. Sometimes showing up when we least expect it.

It’s not easy to be with grief. My clients have learned it is a lot harder to actively avoid being with it. When they feel it’s safe to, they’ve learned that being with the grief is healing.

Being with the grief is hard so I’m sharing with you how I am handling my grief wave. I hope this helps you as much as it will help me to share it.

My Plan for the December Grief Wave

My grandfather passed away the day after Christmas last year. This first holiday season without him is very tough. The grief wave hit as I was putting the ornaments on the tree. The last time I had touched these ornaments was after his funeral.

I knew it was coming but it still hit hard. To ride this wave, I needed to focus on

  1. What I know

  2. What I can do

  3. What I’m going to do

The real 1st step

I have to acknowledge the grief wave.

I took a moment alone to accept that the wave was coming. Here’s how:

  1. Took a few deep breaths

  2. Said out loud: “I know this is going to hurt. I know it will be hard. I know I can get through this.”

Focus on what I know

There will be a lot of joy, love, and excitement this month, especially when the family is together.

We will notice his absence.

We will think about our last memories of him on Christmas Day. The good ones and the bad ones.

On Christmas Day, we will also be anticipating the next day.

We will be worried and heartbroken for my grandmother. For their daughters.

We may feel guilty about our happiness sometimes.

We may feel guilty about our sadness sometimes.

There is so much love in our family.

It hurts because of how much space he took up in our hearts.

Focus on what I can do

I can get advice on ways to include the memory of him.

I can role model for the family how to be with the grief while feeling joy.

I can be with the grief and all the emotions that come with it.

I can’t control how anyone else grieves.

I can ask for the support I need.

Things I’m going to do

Be honest with friends about how difficult December will be and how they can support me.

Give myself permission to take care of myself first so I can support others the way I want to.

Come up with some ways to include him.

Talk with my family about what support they need and how they want to include him.

Final Thoughts

With this plan, I feel less anxious about the grief and more prepared to be with it. I feel relief.


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