As you enter the holidays this year, you may be remembering those who are no longer with you. You may feel haunted by memories, or disappointed expectations. It is hard to be in a dark place when it feels that everyone around you is celebrating and twinkling in the holiday spirit.
I want you to know, it is okay to be sad.
It is okay to mourn, whether you are mourning a death, a change in your family, or disappointed expectations.
In graduate school, we had to do all sorts of emotional assignments, much like I ask my clients to do hard emotional assignments. One graduate assignment was to write a memorial service for someone close to us who had passed away. It was one of the hardest assignments I ever had to do because I was remembering.… (some special person that had passed). She was special to me and I think of her every holiday season.
At the beginning of the memorial, I quoted this poem that has brought me comfort:
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed…
—Henry Scott Holland
I love that segment of the poem; it really speaks about ways of remembering the people whom we mourn. It is okay to mourn.
While it is okay to mourn, I also hope that you are able to spend time remembering the good times. Remember times you laughed. Laugh as you always laughed.
As a therapist, I am honored to sit with my clients in their hard times. If these holidays are hard for you, find someone to sit with you in that time, whether it is a good friend, a pastor, or a counselor, you do not need to go through it alone.