The holiday season is here in full force. Even though I love it, sometimes, I struggle to get into the “holiday spirit.” However, this year I wanted to begin the Christmas season months ago.
I need the tree, the blinking lights, the decorations, the cheer. There has been so much loss and chaos that it’s a relief to focus on something celebratory.
Conversely, there has been so much loss this year that it is difficult to be present for all the magic and beauty of the season. There are no words to lessen the burden of grief for those who have lost spouses, parents, children, siblings, friends, especially when the entire world seems to be grieving.
I wish I could reach out and hug the world with my words, but nothing I write would suffice.
But there is healing in words. Especially those we speak. I know everyone grieves differently, but I wonder what would happen for us if instead of suffering in silence, we’d wail in agony and expose the gnawing ache and gaping emptiness.
How liberating it would be to not “handle it well,” but give into it en masse!
My favorite bard places words of wisdom in the mouth of his character, Ross, who, after relating the slaughter of Macduff’s wife and children at the hands of Macbeth, urges him [Macduff] to express his grief because unexpressed grief burdens and breaks the heart:
Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak
whispers the o’erfraught heart and bids it break.
William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, Scene 3, Lines 245-246
Maybe in speaking, those all-consuming emotions will begin to feel more manageable and we’ll eventually find our way to celebration. Maybe, we’ll breathe and feel alive again and welcome the sadness of loss as only one part of life’s story.