The Particular Grief of Christmas
It happens every year … as soon as the christmas decorations make their first appearance in the shops I start to feel that sinking feeling in my spirit. Christmas time has long been a difficult time for me – without children, without a ‘family’ of my own, I have felt much grief and despair during times when it’s all about family. It’s not something I talk about much and so tend to do my grieving alone and in silence. I should be ‘over it’ by now, right?
But I know there are many of you out there who feel the same for many different reasons, and who also grieve alone at this time of year. We just want it to be over, yes? Christmas, that is. I’m not going to offer any strategies for dealing with the grief or the isolation because you’ve already had those. And I’m not going to say you’ve got to do anything different to what you’re already doing. Because really, we’re doing the best we can, and that’s OK, that’s enough. The only thing that really helps of course is sharing the experience, even though that’s probably the last thing we feel like doing! But it helps others to understand our unique take on this part of life. And in doing so, almost paradoxically, we get to feel like we ‘belong’, during a time that makes us feel like we don’t belong at all! I’ve learnt over the years to make room for my grief and my sadness, AND to enjoy the good bits as well; and it’s enough .. yes, it’s enough. And the New Year? Well that’s my time – I get to rise up again, with renewed energy and renewed hope that I will be present again to sadness and joy without requiring one over the other. Good tidings, indeed!
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