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Good Grief

Updated: Jan 7

Happy 2024!I don't know about you, but for me the time between Christmas and when my kids go back to school has always been destabilizing for me.  


I am a planner and a doer - when this gap in my schedule opens up, grief pushes its way up to the surface.“Ugh! Good grief!” I say to myself, “Here again?!”  

As y'all know, my husband died 8 years ago.

At his family's Christmas eve gathering last week - one I've attended for thirty-seven years now - I sighed a very Charlie Brown sigh. (Remember when Lucy pulls the football out from him just as he is about to punt?)

"What is wrong with me?” is the thought that followed my own "Good Grief!"   

My bones ached as I moved from room to room that night, restless and feeling so griefy, so victimy.  

Halfway through the cheese plate and pear with brie mini tarts, I felt a surge coming. 

I walk/ran to the foyer to let my "Good Grief!" out. 

After a breathless sob (while gripping the shoulders of a startled babysitter who I ran directly into at the coat closet), I felt much better.


The sob relieved me from my silent protestation and judgment and got straight to the truth in the moment.Grief did me good.


Grief does even better when I can share it with someone (Thank you Diane). 


I was still sad that Eric wasn’t in that room with me and my kids, but at least for the moment, I wasn’t in pain.  


I was relieved of the effort to hold back the hurt.  


Grief does good work when we give it the space it needs to be felt and reflected.


Maybe running to the coat closet is the best we can do during the in-between times. 


Giving grief its space is a practice. It doesn't want our perfection. Here is a brief 3-step primer for tending to grief when you feel it surging:


  1. When you recognize grief in your body, slow down and tune in to those sensations.

  2. Welcome the parts of you that are hurting, angry and defiant with affection.

  3. Share your hurt with someone who can offer you empathy, not solutions.

You won't get very far in 2024 without a willingness to be with the hurt you carry with you - hurt that will keep you from growing, connecting and loving.

The good news about grief is that it's something we can share with each other -and that makes for good grief.

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