In the cold of winter, we are more apt to feel the pain of our grief. Ambivalence becomes our friend as we search for the meaning in loss. We release a sigh of relief that we survived the holidays and then comes the quiet of winter. 

Winter is an opportune time to allow the waves of grief to visit us. The time when we have “permission” to do less because the weather is working against us. I remember as a little girl, my grandmother commenting, “I like winter. I see things behind the trees that I never knew were there.” In our grief, we feel the absence of familiarity and may start to discover and experience things we never knew aboutourselves. It’s time to take a long walk as the sun reflects off the sparkling snow and peek behind those naked trees and find something new. It’s time to take a much-needed nap or go to bed early and let our body rest from the emotional upheaval we have experienced. Maybe you’d like to have a “pajama day” and write in your journal with a cup of coffee or just have a good cry. Winter is the time to sit in the space of grief and allow ourselves to feel and heal.

We may search for something we can’t identify in those cold months. We feel the uneasiness. We feel the aches and pain in our body. We notice the shorter days that can seem so long, or the limited view in a snowstorm or foggy morning. We may sit anxiously and then suddenly recognize it…this is grief in its truest form. It never looks, acts or feels the way we think it will. Sometimes it’s peaceful, sometimes it’s sorrowful, sometimes it’s gut-wrenching and, most times, it is unexpected.

The absence of the light is a necessary part of our earth’s time of rest and renewal. Why not allow yourself the same luxury of rest and renewal this winter? In the spring, as the light stimulates our sight and makes new things visible, recognize how you have grown and changed. Whether you feel these changes are positive or negative, it is still growth and it is your personal grief experience. After you have rested you may have the strength and courage to address the changes in your life with the help of a trusted family member or friend, or you may want to seek the support of one of the bereavement coordinators at Hospice of the Western Reserve or attend a support group. Whatever your choice, be patient with this roller coaster process we call grief and be kind and gentle with yourself as you experience it.

She sits, she waits, she is grief.