One of the things that I often talk about is recognizing the impact that the rhythm of time has had on my grief journey.
All throughout my life, I’ve always been fascinated by how time can feel different, depending on what is going on. Maybe that’s why I was so aware of the surreal quality time took on as I traveled my grief journey.
In the very early days of my grief journey, I was aware a different rhythm to the weeks and weekends. The weeks were spent trying to get back to normal, even though it was a new normal. The weekends had more space to feelings to arise, and I was so weary from trying to go back to a semblance of normal, that all I could do is sleep. And then Monday would come again, and I the pattern would repeat, over and over until I began to slowly do the work to change this particular rhythm.
Another time that I noticed a different rhythm was around holidays and milestone days.
Sometimes it was because a particular holiday held special memories for my family. Other times it is because a holiday changes the normal rhythm of our lives anyway.
What do you notice as a holiday or milestone day approaches? Do you feel anxiety arising, and not know why? It could be because of associative memories, or it could be the shift in the way time feels around these times.
This year, I noticed a shift at Memorial Day because of memories of last year, as we were beginning to quarantine. What I’ve discovered is that each year brings different feelings depending on what has gone on the year before. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself each year as a holiday, or milestone day approaches, what you need this year. Each year may be different.
When we give ourselves the space to be present to what we need now, we are able to find it.
In the early days of my grief journey, often I found myself wishing a certain day would not come so I wouldn’t have extra time to feel those painful feelings, or I would use diversion or distraction to numb the feelings. I found that was not helpful. It did not make the feelings go away. It make them louder and more intense, and they eventually have to be felt anyway.
When you are facing a difficult milestone, or holiday, take some time to ask yourself what you need this year, now, today. Not what worked last year or even last month.
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