Summertime and the Living is Not Easy


BY: Kathryn Harrison Brown, MA, LPC

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

​“Summertime and the living is easy…” or so the old song says. It implies that summer is a time to relax, be carefree, enjoy simple pleasures and delight in all that is good about the warm weather. July 4th and Labor Day are celebrated as family and friends get together for fireworks, picnics, swim parties and barbecues. People relish gardening-planting flowers and vegetables and watching the fruits of their labor grow. Sunshine feels warm on the face and there is a familiar smell in the air associated with the winds of summer.

For those whose loved one has died, the living may not be so easy and the things you previously enjoyed about summer may not bring you joy now. Gardening, for instance, may not give the same pleasure it once did. Death changes people in many ways and one common grief reaction is losing interest in things you once liked to do. The change may just be temporary, next year you may again enjoy yard work, parties and other summer events.

Some grieving persons, on the other hand, love digging in the dirt, pulling weeds and planting flowers. They find it therapeutic to feel the soil. They lose themselves for hours in the work and feel that the physical exercise is good not only for the body, but also the mind. People can work through many emotions while being physically active. Another benefit to hard work is that folks become so tired they sleep better at night.

Some individuals choose to create a memory garden in honor of their loved one and find comfort in tending it with loving care. They may decide to plant a tree, select special flowers or install a beautiful statue or waterfall.

Whatever is helpful for you during this time of grief is okay. There are no rules for the bereaved. What is right for one person may not help another. You do not have to journey alone. We are available if you need to talk with someone or would like information about support groups.

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