“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz
GOOD GRIEF! It feels like all the saddest things happen during the holidays. It feels like loved ones pass away, families quarrel, and friends hold grudges. It feels like spouses are unfaithful, lives are uprooted, and we become burdened by painful memories. Mostly, it feels like grief always makes its move during the holidays.
And when grief moves in, we don’t feel like sitting around a dinner table together. We don’t feel like playing games, singing songs, or watching holiday movies. We don’t feel like lighting candles, hanging twinkle lights, or baking cookies. Instead, we lie awake with worry, alternating crying into our pillows and plotting escape or revenge, or just mustering the strength to reach over to our laptops to post some cryptic Facebook status, and wallow in the comments of concerned, inquisitive e-friends.
Then (when we’re done with the wallowing and such) we tap into our loving, joyous selves and come to an understanding that, whether it be good or bad, energy begets energy. We must know that we could feel that much-hyped “comfort and joy” everybody sings about, if we make a conscientious differentiation between our grief and the holiday season, because though they often coincide, they are not one and the same. We must know that when we dedicate our energy to joy, the holiday spirit is strong enough to overpower holiday grief.
We overpower grief with celebration and creation, simply by accessing the most creative, celebratory parts of ourselves and thriving on that loving, glowing energy. So, regardless of what we celebrate — we CELEBRATE. We celebrate by moving our beautiful, living bodies. We celebrate by setting the table, playing games, singing songs, and watching holiday movies. We celebrate by lighting candles, hanging twinkle lights, and baking cookies. We celebrate with glitter… and chocolate!
And as we begin to lift the joy of the season above our feelings of grief, we are then able to realize that grief too has a purpose in our lives. Grief is a teacher and a guide, offering us the gift of gratitude and hope, independence and self-compassion. Grief forces itself into our lives to enlighten us and give us perspective. Thus, we begin to understand that grief comes to us during the holidays, not to ruin our spirits or intensify our pain, but rather to be softened by the bright, loving, and nostalgic atmosphere of the season, so that our hearts may heal in the light of real comfort and joy.
So, together let us celebrate truly good grief. Together we celebrate good grief with wrapping paper and ribbon, old timey songs and home cooked meals. Together we celebrate good grief with loud, messy, unapologetically elaborate holiday spirit.
“Are you upset little friend? Have you been lying awake worrying? Well, don’t worry…I’m here. The flood waters will recede, the famine will end, the sun will shine tomorrow, and I will always be here to take care of you.”
― Charles M. Schulz