"Ky’Mere, I miss you. I miss you deeply. Often I think about the fantasy of having a healthy you hear on earth. I often imagine how different my life would be if you were still here. I imagine the bond we would have, how long your hair would be, how long/tall you would be, being the big cousin Grief is funny. Often you’re grieving what was, what could have been, the reality of things now and then, moving towards progress in life because, let’s be real, you can’t “move forward,” but you can have forward progress. Anyways, this is all for now. Just know I hope that I’m making you proud with my commitment to my forward progress. I hope you have that same smile looking down on your mom, like, “that’s MY mom.” Continue to take care of mommy as she took care of you.
With love, son."
-your mommy forever.
Recently I started writing letters to my son in Heaven. Letter 143. I wanted to share one of my therapeutic suggestions for individuals experiencing grief, particularly the loss of a close relative. This activity allows the grieving individual to allow their grief to flow through their words, share feelings about their loved one, and progress in their grief journey. This activity allows one to share continued progress, accomplishments, and day-to-day emotions.
The holiday season is approaching, and many individuals and families begin or continue to grieve the loss of a loved one. Grief can be hard. It can be scary. Often, with grief, individuals feel like it is letting go of their loved one. What if you were told it's not letting go of your loved one? In fact, it's allowing yourself to let your love flow for them through a different approach. It's a major adjustment, a transition, and depending on the nature of the relationship, it often makes people feel that they are forgetting about their loved one. Remember, you can never forget your loved one and the bond you share. It sucks holding on to only a memory or idea of them, but know that your loved one is NOT just a memory or an idea. They are the ones who you love dearly and deeply. Do what you want, you need to grieve but make sure you are grieving healthy, _______ (insert their name here) would want that for you.
"You will never just move forward. You can't just move forward. You now just have to adjust and adapt to progressing forwardly in life without the physical presence of your loved one. It doesn't get better; it just becomes more bearable overtime as you allow yourself to grieve."
-Victoria Thompson, MS, NCC, LCMHC-A
Grief has taught me a couple of things. You can't depend on a physical presence to fill the void of the loss of your loved one.
It's that time of the year. Here are your grief response tips on getting through the holiday season while grieving your loved one:
Give yourself grace.
Allow Yourself to grieve. Cry, be upset, but feel what you feel and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling but don't stay there. You have to get up.
Be gentle with yourself or your grieving loved one. They can be happy one moment and a grief wave can hit and they are down. Don't take it personally.
Accept the fact that your life will never be the same. It isn't supposed to be. Losing a close loved one will change you. It's up to you how you allow it to change you.
Honor their life. Celebrate their life. Talk about them. Bring up memories. Keep them alive. You have to allow yourself to no longer depend on their physical presence but trust that their spirit and love are with you.
Spend time with yourself. Don't neglect you to surround yourself with family. Unless this works for you. Make sure you take time out to yourself, with yourself. Check on you, too.
Read. Worship. Pray. Soak in scriptures: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Lamentations 3:20-27, John 16:22, John 11:35. Allow your grief and sorrow to awaken your spiritual relationship and connection with God. It's an opportunity to lay your hurt and pain, the grief of your loved one, at his feet. When you love someone, your tears are a form of allowing your love to flow for them. Still. It's not letting your love go, it's letting your love for them flow.
So, the next time someone tells you, you just have to find a way to move forward. Respectively tell them, VicNikol, who speaks, encourages me to progress forward. I don't have to move forward or move on.
Grace...Give yourself the grace to grieve.
Rest...Be sure to allow yourself to rest. You MUST grieve. Don't keep yourself busy to avoid your grief. You can be busy and allow yourself to grieve, too.
Intentional...Be intentional with acknowledging your grief waves and not suppressing them.
Embrace...Embrace your grief. You are wrestling with how you continue to give and receive love from your loved one. You now have to embrace the love and the bond you shared. Hold them and their memories close to your heart.
Faith....have faith that you will get through this season, gracefully. 🙏🏾❤️
Here's to progressing forward through the holiday season while dealing with grief,
Victoria Thompson, MS, NCC, LCMHC-A
VicNikolSpeaks: Counseling and Wellness, PLLC