These words from my heart to yours, for those who are grieving and feeling loss at this time.
You may have lost someone you love this year. You may have lost someone, or those you love, and this festive season just isn't the same as it might have been, before. May you feel and know that my heart is with yours, always and every day, but especially at this time.
I don't think there's ever an answer as to what will make this festive season easier or better. There's no manual or rule book, or any step by step process to take, or a certain way to move through loss. It's one of the hardest, and most sacred and personal journeys we ever have to take.
I know this, through my own personal grief.
I know this to be so very true, through supporting so many others.
Your grief is yours.
Your loss is yours.
Your love is yours.
Your healing is yours.
The grief I carry, every day, is the fullest expression of love I will ever know and understand. It took me a long time to feel this, and to heal, in my own personal way. But I know that because of this, and through it all, I breathe life into everything, now, in a very different way.
I so wish I could take your pain away. I so wish you didn't have to know the hole that's left in your heart and your life. I so wish there was a timeframe on when you'll feel like being within the world again, without them. And when you'll feel again, that you truly belong. But I know that wishing doesn't change a thing. It's just what it is. They are no longer here. And it is so very hard to bear.
This is what we carry when we grieve those we love. Grief is so very personal and we feel it all in different ways, but this is what we carry. Grief as love. And some days the load may feel lighter, as love so expansive. And other days, the load is heavy, the loss is vast, and we might stumble and fall, and have to remind ourselves, again, of all that is we have within us, to be here, now, and to keep carrying ourselves forward.
This time of year, as many holiday seasons, can be a difficult time. As others are celebrating and feeling uplifted and joyful, and that's not your experience or reality at all. And this year especially, grief can feel left to the side by others, because we've all had our own experiences of challenges and uncertainty through this pandemic this year. And whilst others may be feeling inspired and looking forward with hope for what's to come, your world may have been turned upside down and inside out, and you're just coping and doing the best you can. Or perhaps there are memories and emotions that feel heightened and raw on the surface, as you are so deeply missing them, at this time.
There is no answer as to what will make this time of year, or any day, through your grief, easier. But there is something I do, a little practice that you might like to try - to lessen the pain, the ache, the loss - even if just for a moment - or to find a space of peace to lean into, whenever you can.
Wherever I am, I do this.
I close my eyes. Or I take my gaze to another place. I give myself full permission to remove myself from wherever I am. And I take myself to be with them, those no longer here, who I love. I feel them residing with fullness and presence within my heart, and I whisper comforting and loving words, silently, as if they are here, with me, encouraging me, holding me, by my side.
Wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I take these moments, just for me. And with each breath, I find solace, comfort, and my own sense of ease and calm. And I find a resting place within my own heart, where I can be, freely, with them.
And then when I'm ready, I return to where I was before, to what I was doing, and I just bring myself back to the present moment. It helps. I breathe a little easier. I feel a little less alone. I feel a deeper sense of peace. And always, it allows me to lean into openings for light and joy. Ways to seek and see beauty in all the small things, here with me, now. To love even more deeply, because of them.
It's not just holiday times or this festive season that I practice this with self compassion. It can be any ordinary day, at any time of year. But I know that as others too feel the festivities around them, and the sadness in their own hearts, especially through the intensity of challenges this year, and perhaps your grief is early and raw, or just more present than ever. Remind yourself always that however you feel is normal, and it is okay. And perhaps like me, you might choose to be ever so mindful to stay close to those you trust in for support and love in all the ways that you need. Those precious friends or just one friend, or family, who you know will be there, and who understands. I so hope you have this someone, or others, around you at this time.
Those of us who carry loss and love as they co-exist alongside - we know a life before and we are living a life now, after. They are so starkly different. It's certainly felt this way for me. And I know the remarkable and incredible courage it takes, to stay open and loving still, when life is so very changed. And I deeply acknowledge however your grief and loss and love, all feels and is, for you. Through this time, through this year, and as time moves forward from here.
If you are feeling and living through grief and loss, know that my heart is with you, now, and always. May you find comfort and solace, in ways that bring peace to your heart, and loving kindness to your spirit and soul. May you have loving memories that keep those you love alive to you and present with you always.
And in each moment, where you may feel the loss is too much to bear, may you remind yourself that you can take gentle breaths in and out, and if this feels soothing and calming, you can take yourself to be with them, and let the love you have and feel for them, fill you with light and warmth, in all the moments and times that you need.
Katie Jane is a Holistic Therapist, Life Coach, Health Coach, Nutritionist, Naturopath, Meditation teacher, writer and author. Katie has been working in the wellness industry for over 15 years, in private practice and online, and brings all of these qualifications and skills, along with her own lived experiences through challenges, changes and transitions. Her approach to life and wellbeing is truly holistic and unique for each individual. She supports and coaches clients to make powerful changes, to feel calm through uncertainty and change, to embrace self care as a way of being, and to thrive through life transitions.