A holiday reminder – Holding space for others in sorrow

She held them up, and in a voice that had a distinct tone of ‘these are going no matter what, or how’ said, “Would YOU have any use for these?”
She was talking to my husband, not me.
We all stared at her for a moment, standing there with these obviously used bib overalls in her hand. My husband gave her a very quick and straightforward, “NO,” and I paused… thought, and said, “those are kinda cute, whose are they?”
Faded, stained, worn knees, flared bottoms, snaps in places that told me they were mens… memories of my Dad when I was young filled my head… not his.
“They’re Grampa’s, my Dad’s,” came back from my Mom, and in an instant they were MINE.
I tried them on and while they were larger and too long in the legs, the moment I put them on, I knew. I. Just. Knew. He was there.
Suddenly, I was 2 years old riding on my dad’s old Ford tractor with a stick shift knob looking me in the face, standing between my grandfather’s knees on the way down a field road.
Those pants were magic.
The next day I put them on and wore them for my work day (because that’s how I roll)… and I cried.
I still miss him so much.

I work everyday in my career with people who are grieving the loss of a loved one. They come to me looking for connection, sometimes for answers to questions, sometimes for understanding and always to feel a sense of “knowing” or purpose in the grief they are experiencing. Loss is just plain hard. We all know the ways to shift our perspectives on the gut sucking punch that is loss of someone we love. “It was just their time.” “Their Soul was ready to leave and move on.” “They would’ve been miserable if they had stayed.” “It was meant to teach us all something.”  We know! We know all the things because we have said them to ourselves a thousand times before anyone else even started saying them to us, and at the end of the day… none of them matter. IT HURTS!

And here we are at the holidays. The annual reminder for so many people of who is no longer at the dinner table with them.

In this time that can be so challenging in loss, please know you are loved. Please know that there are people who hear you, who feel the pain with you, and let yourself honor and experience what is truly in your heart. It’s not always about it being pretty, or enlightened. Sometimes we just need to feel the honesty of the pain and sorrow. It’s ok to do that. Take others with you as a way of knowing you will always have a way back out of that sorrow. Let people love you and support you, and hold you. You are worth it, and they already know that.

In this time of the holiday season have compassion for those around you who have lost greatly and are feeling that loss. It is not about being sorry FOR them, they are enough for their journey. Bring compassion, bring a soft place of peace that allows them to simply BE where they are. Dig into your inner strength and sit next to them in their sadness without needing to make it your own.

For many this time is really challenging and so it provides us an opportunity to find the best in ourselves, for others. To live a great humanity as humans. We can be the strength and the love for others simply by showing up and being quiet. Bring your heart of compassion with you wherever you go this holiday season. We really don’t know what others are going through, and often we would be more kind if we did.

Just assume kindness is the right answer, always. Remember your presence is often all that someone else needs.

Forever the journey, Anne

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