Grief and the Holidays

November has been a tough month for me, biopsychosocialspiritually. But lately, I’ve noticed (courtesy of my Facebook memories) that November has traditionally been a rough month for me for quite a while. I put my therapist hat on immediately and attempted to figure out the source of my distress.

My answer, or possible answer, hit me like a ton of bricks: am I grieving? I immediately dismissed the thought. I lost my father in 2009 on Mother’s Day. It was sudden and traumatic. No sickness. No time to say goodbye or I love you. Just a car accident and he was gone. In the weeks, months and even years after his death, I didn’t allow myself to grieve. I put myself on autopilot and pushed through life. I told myself I had to be strong for my family, they needed me.

That was not true. I was afraid to allow myself to feel the all-encompassing fire that is grief; the feeling of being encased in a body of bricks and you cannot move, no matter how much your mind wills you to. On the days I couldn’t fight my sadness, I would call out from work. Sometimes I would sit in my car and have a good cry before I went in to work. I can remember talking with my younger brother one day while driving to work and all of a sudden I started screaming. I had to pull on the side of the road and get myself together before continuing on…..yes, to work.

One of our last family photos before my father’s death – 2008

It has only been in the last 5 years or so that I have allowed myself to not only FEEL my grief, but also allow myself to heal. I can honestly say my heart doesn’t ache like it used to. I don’t tear up when I talk about my dad. However, this time of year is a trigger for my grief, I believe. The holidays are a happy time for our family. We have traditions we enjoy. And every Thanksgiving and Christmas, we are reminded of the things we used to do or that Dad used to do. Sure, we created new memories and traditions after he died, but if I’m honest, holidays just aren’t the same without him.

Dad celebrating Christmas at my house

So what do I do with my sadness? I accept it as a feeling, but I remain mindful not to allow it to swallow me whole. I remain thankful for the memories, my own family and the traditions we have. But there is always one fact that will never go away: Little Keischa will always miss her daddy.

If you’re experiencing grief, it’s okay to be sad, mad, confused, bitter. Surround yourself with folks that not only understand where you’re coming from, but will help pull you up out of an emotional hole if you fall in. Even in your sadness, you were not made to live in isolation. We were created to BE there for each other❤️

Peace and Blessings,

KP

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