Grief is No Picnic


BY: Karen Kincaid, MA, PCC

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss

S​ummer is a time of sunshine and warm temperatures. We’ve planted our gardens, anticipating the beauty and serenity that comes from all our hard work. Now it’s time to get out, relax, vacation, and go on picnics.

Picnics can be full of warmth, laughter and good times, but sometimes the wind blows and the sand gets in our eyes and our clothes, and the ants are determined to invade our space. We pack our picnic baskets and coolers with all the things we will need; blankets to protect us from the sand, air tight containers to keep the ants out, sunscreen to protect us from the harsh rays, coolers to keep things just the right temperature, possibly some insecticide or candles to prevent the unwelcome intruders. Maybe an umbrella in case it rains.

When someone close to us dies, people will often say the experience “is no picnic.” Those are the times the wind blows the sand and the ants seem to be everywhere. We can plan ahead, but when the death comes, our emotions can catch us off guard. We are sometimes surprised and unprepared for the
associated losses and the adjustments we must make.

Helping to identify those specific losses can help identify what course of action we need to take. It may be finding new purpose in life, creating new routines, making new companions and discovering new interests. It sounds simple, but after a lifetime of doing things one way, it can be the most difficult
challenge we face. And nothing will ever totally eliminate that empty space in our hearts. We only learn to live with it.

So, what’s in your life’s picnic basket? What do you want to see when you open it? What supplies do you need to put in it? How prepared are you for the grief journey ahead? Who or what is your blanket that keeps you protected? Are you able to put things in their appropriate container, kept safe until you are ready to open it? Have you put yourself in an air tight container that keeps everything/everyone away? Are there people and/or things in your life that need a healthy spray of insecticide? What are the things you need in your basket to improve the quality of your picnic? Do you have good friends and good food to nourish your body, mind and spirit? Do you have a plan for your day? Life is a journey. Sometimes there’s some rain, but the sun always comes out. What’s ahead for you?

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