The Seasons of Grief: Winter to Spring

There are crocuses in the yard.

How did spring sneak in so stealthily? You may not feel ready for spring. Winter might have felt as if it fit your mood, your grief. Now there are flowers in the yard and a garden to tend. Things are growing. Life marches forward, even when we aren’t ready.  Spring reminds us of this.

When grief hits it’s like a winter of the soul. Parts of us freeze in time. Not dead, but dormant. Pain blankets our emotional landscape like a fresh snow. It smothers greenery and muffles sound. Parts of us peak out, foraging to survive. It’s a state of emotional survival. Oddly, at some point there is comfort in not having to grow, expand, or reach for the sun.

You may not feel ready, but it could be time to step into the sun. We are never fully healed. But it may be time to embrace the idea that life moves forward. It could be time to plan for the future again, not just survive the day. Within you are gifts and talents to share and give back to the world. By stepping back out into the sun you may be able fulfill your mission, purpose, and dreams.

Love means wanting the best for each other. Whether it’s your child, parent, grandparents, sibling, husband, or wife, we seek to lift up our beloved and give them happiness. That’s simply the nature of true, healthy, love. If something were to happen to you, wouldn’t you want your loved ones to live a life of fulfillment and joy? Our lost loved ones want that for us too. They want us to be happy and even find new love. We honor them by rejoining life and growing again.

Life is a cycle. It doesn’t reach a set point and stop, even when something horrible happens. New days dawn and seasons pass, both on the calendar and in our soul. As they do, healing continues, but in new ways, ones that include personal growth and respecting the wishes our loved ones had for us.

Looking out at a bright day and the beginning blooms it may be time to accept spring. Your winter of grief served its purpose.

Stepping outside lift your face to the sun and feel both warmth and tears.

– COPE Clinical Director Amy Olshever, PhD, LCSW