Grief is like the month of March. You never know what to expect from March in New England. One day it’s snowing with blizzard-like conditions and the next day it’s sunny and 70 degrees. It is a month of surprises.
We never know what to expect from our grief either. Our grief is unique. It doesn’t look like anyone else’s. There’s no set order or stages to our grief. One day we feel like we are handling everything quite well and the next day we feel so sad and distraught that we wonder if we will ever feel “normal” again.
Even years after a loss we can experience a trigger moment that brings dark clouds to our sunny day. It may be an expected trigger (i.e. birthday or holiday) or it may be unexpected such as a memory flashback that comes out of nowhere, hearing a particular song, or seeing someone that looks like a lost loved one. These triggers can hit us hard because they bring us back to the acute grief when the pain was most intense. The resurgence of such strong reactions can be scary, especially when we thought we were “over it.” But it’s all part of grief.
This time of the year we may impatiently await spring, but we can’t skip over the month of March. We can’t erase it from the calendar. We must get through it and experience the wide variations in weather before we get to springtime and summer. So too with our grief. The only way to get through it is to experience it . . . to ride the ups and downs of grief. To embrace the sun and the clouds . . . the warmth and the cold. We hope for spring but the reality of winter hits us with every frigid day. It’s still March, after all. And we are still grieving, after all. I suppose we always will be to some degree.
So how do we handle the month of March? We keep the snow blower handy but also our gardening tools. We oscillate between winter and spring . . . we realize we have no control over the weather. We just accept whatever the day brings and try our best to be prepared and live through it. It’s funny how grief mimics nature.
Does your grief seem as unpredictable as the month of March? What surprises you in your grief?
Grieve Well . . . Live Well!
Cheryl Amari, M.A., C.T.
Grief Educator & Consultant
GriefTeach Founder & Owner
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Copyright 2014, Cheryl Amari