I don’t have days of daylong grieving, anymore. What I have is what I’d like to describe more as moments of grief. I’ve been asked by several therapists if I suffer with seasonal grief or depression. I’d like to say “no” to that, simply because I don’t dread the seasons changing, or the seasons coming. Those normal, annual changes don’t cause me to grieve. My grief waves are on a pretty straightforward path. I’ve figured out by now what will shift my mind into grieving.
This week, we celebrated Thanksgiving. My late husband’s family lives about an hour and 15 minutes away from us. Because they live so far, unfortunately, my kids don’t see Kyle’s family on a regular basis due to school. Usually, it’s the holidays that I am able to get my kids to them to spend time with them. Today, as I was driving to get my daughter, alone in the car, I turned the radio down to a softer volume. As I sat in traffic, my mind began wondering and tears just started welling up in my eyes. I began to think how sad it was for my daughter to have to split her time up between two families for the holidays, simply because cancer robbed her of her father. I thought how sad it was that my precious little girl would be standing in pictures taken that were missing her daddy. I was getting so sad.
With wiped away tears and a dry face, I picked up my daughter. As we were driving home, we started discussing her upcoming, 9th, birthday. She started naming off things that she’d like for her birthday. Immediately, again, I became sad. I started thinking “wow, another celebration he’s missing. Another milestone for Aubrie that he’s having to miss.” Once we got home, I had Aubrie unpack her bag. She took out the card that her grandparents gave her for her birthday, and it read: “Granddaughters are like kisses, blown to us by angels”. Oh my God, more tears. But, happy ones. I started smiling as I thought of my sweet daughter, who came into Kyle’s and my life right when God knew we needed her most. In Kyle’s absence, we all still have a piece of him in Aubrie.
I’m not really sure what I think of seasonal grief. I would assume that most grieving people who suffer with “seasonal grief” don’t hate the holidays, but rather the absence of someone special to share in certain moments while celebrating the holidays. I don’t dread Christmas because I dislike Christmas. I dread the lump in my throat as my mind goes down memory lane when I think about my lost loved one once being the life of the party at Christmas. I dread the sad memories that the fall air bring to my mind as I think about Kyle’s final days- but I don’t hate the fall.
Do you really hate the seasons or do you hate the sadness that it brings? Fall is the season that Kyle died, but I much prefer fall weather in South Louisiana than summer weather any day. Maybe it’s not seasonal grieving or depression, but rather moments of grief in those seasons. Choose to be happy as the seasons change and spend time with your loved ones who are still here. I believe moments of grief are so very healthy. Share your stories of your loved ones who are no longer here. I’m sure there will be lots of crying, but only with so much more laughter. How healing is that? Choose not to be alone and sad as the holidays go on. I hope you can see that sometimes, grieving in the moment may actually be healing.
I promise you, it never goes away, but it does get better.