As I turned my calendar and looked at December, I considered how quickly this year has gone by. Time continues to pass while days, weeks, and months take us into another year.
Last week I had coffee with a friend and as we shared our journey of losing our spouse, she shared how she is finding tools to help manage her grief. In her readings she told of a woman who would set a timer for herself in order to grieve, cry and focus on her loss. In a specific amount of time while in her home, she would let the tears spill and let herself feel her pain. When the timer went off, she would stop. It was like a container for her grief.
What this practice creates is a way to honor and give recognition to our grief, not just in the early weeks and first year, but even after several years. This intentional grieving practice offers a place to process in order to make progress. Just like we set a timer for what we put it the oven, the timer is the way we measure and allow something to change over time.
This month is filled with triggers around the holidays. As I prepared to send out Christmas cards I noticed once again that there are 3 of us not 4 in the photo. I had seen 4 people in the Christmas photo for over 30 years. I felt the loss. I acknowledged the grief. I noticed the pain. It was different from the first year, but it was still there.
We make time for everything else in our lives that is important. Maybe a check-in with ourselves is in order as we go into the Christmas season. Where I am with my grief? Do I notice it when it comes sliding in the back door? We have permission to notice and feel it.
There’s a value in tending to our hearts. Dr. Curt Thompson, author of “Anatomy of the Soul” says, “Remember that emotion is not a debatable phenomenon. It is an authentic reflection of our subjective experience, one that is best served by attending to it.”
Used with permission from Pam Luschei.