Q) Do holiday seasons magnify grief?
A) Grief during the holiday season and particularly when starting a new year does seem to carry a heavy sadness. All the “happy memories” you shared with your loved ones are now full of grief, and remembering them can often change your emotions from happiness to sadness. Also, when the world seems so happy and full of “holiday spirit”, grief can make your broken heart even more painful. It’s an odd experience, almost as if there is a feeling of holiday peer pressure to “be happy”. But never lose hope during the holidays. As with any relationship, grief will change over time, even if you don’t believe me while reading this. We like to refer to them has happy/sad memories because, over time, you will learn to love these memories and simultaneously be sad that it’s “over”. We find sadness in the fact that they are gone, but comfort and happiness in having the special memories.
Q) Can grief show up in your emotions regardless of how many years have passed or your age?
A) We couldn’t help but realize how powerful love, memories, and grief are while watching the Cubs win the World Series. The Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The world got to view this 7 game series as one of the closest and hardest fought battles between two teams who had not won in many, many years, possibly the two longest losing droughts in baseball, and it was a movie story finish. The Cubs went into extra innings, in the other team’s stadium, and finally won it all. Even if you are not a baseball fan, we want you to understand the magnitude of the buildup, and that it was on of the most epic displays of teamwork and bonding together, making it simply magical to watch. Our point and reason for all these details is to create the emotional environment surrounding what happened next. After the win, Bill Murray, long time actor and fan of the Cubs was interviewed. He was so excited and overwhelmed with joy that he almost couldn’t collect his thoughts while standing on the baseball field. Then Bill Murray made a statement that no one expected and got teared up. He started talking about his mother, stating that the tears were from him reflecting about their special “mother/son” and family love of the Cubs. Bill Murray explained that November 3rd (the day of the World Series win) was the anniversary date of his mother passing away 28 years ago. Even in the middle of an epic win, he was taken back to the heart of his mother’s death. But the most touching part of this was that Bill Murray was so excited about the win and his emotions and memories were so strong about his mother, Bill Murray was able to use that to bridge an emotional tie to the World Series Win. In other words, he was able to still have his mother’s memories connected and tied to this event that meant so much to him. Can’t we all do the same with our loved ones? For example, on my wedding day, I used one of my dad’s neck ties to wrap around my wedding bouquet of flowers. The memories keep our loved ones in our hearts and lives.
Over the years, one thing that seems to prove itself time and again is that (on the outside) we all grieve differently, and some of us often build up emotional walls. However, within our loving souls, we never truly let our loved ones leave our lives. Instead, we keep their memories alive by reminding ourselves of the bonds that connected us and also by the silly stories we remember.
Q) Do the memories still hurt?
A) If so, please take a moment to stop and look back at how far you have come. No matter the timeline, remind yourself to keep going, even if you need to ask for help. There is always hope that tomorrow will be better on your broken heart than today. The memories will not always hurt so badly, and one day soon, you will be able to smile at the times you had, even if the tears are still there. Never lose hope.
By Scott and Ellen Wynn McBrayer
Jones-Wynn Funeral Homes & Crematory