Holidays, Grief, and Disappointment
Folks, as we all know, the holidays are upon us.
As I have written before (most recently last year, here), this is an awful time of year for anyone who has suffered losses. You can’t help but think about those you miss, especially when you have happy memories of better days when they were alive, well, and completely themselves.
I don’t have the answers for how to deal with this, despite having to deal with it for so long. As time passes, I know I’ll be grieving more and more people, and that’s the way life works — some of us keep going, and remember those who have passed before us, and try to honor their memories as best we’re able.
But that doesn’t make it easy.
In addition, because this is a highly-fraught time of year, any disappointment you receive at this time seems magnified. By a hundred, maybe, or even a thousand…it’s an illusion, mind, borne of the fact that you’re probably already under stress for various reasons, you’re expected to be “happy happy, joy joy” all the time at this time of year, and maybe you’re expending energy you didn’t realize you were using to stay on an even keel.
When I’m disappointed, whether it’s in someone else, myself, the world at large, whatever, I try to take a step back. Will this matter in a week? Will this matter in a month? Will this matter in a year?
If the answers to all of those questions are “no,” it’s a little easier to push past the disappointment.
“But Barb,” you say. “What is it about this time and people getting on each other’s nerves?”
Believe me, I wish I knew.
What I do know is that I try hard not to get upset by what other people do. Sometimes I observe this more in the breach than in its keeping, but I honestly do try.
OK, not everyone is going to be be what you want them to be. (Maybe no one is. Maybe you, yourself, aren’t, either.) Maybe you don’t have the life you want. Maybe nothing went right for you this year. And maybe, just maybe, you are having trouble hoping that tomorrow will be better than today.
That is normal, human, and you have to realize that other people feel the same damned thing.
So, yeah. This time of year is very hard for me. I feel almost as if I’m a chronic observer rather than completely in the mix of life and all its pleasures (and annoyances), and that’s only partly because I’m a writer and my observational skills have been heightened by years of practice.
All I can do, quite frankly, is endure the holidays. Get past them. And hope that 2017 will be a whole lot better than 2016.
Anyway, may we all treat our loved ones, friends, and co-workers gently at this time of year, and throughout the year…and may we all be richly blessed, one way or another.