Spring - A Time of Renewal

By:  Peggy Burns, MA, LPC

Spring is a time when the flowers bloom, grass is growing again, and trees are beginning to fill in. It seems made to be  a time for the renewal of one’s spirit…...at least it is supposed to be that way. How is it for those of us who are still grieving the loss of a loved one? How do we celebrate Spring and the new season?

I am coming up on the anniversary of my daughter’s passing and my feelings are conflicted and complicated because I want to feel the Spring air and all the passion it brings  after a long Winter. Yet, I am reminded of a loss that is still very fresh and am feeling apprehensive about the next few months.

I have been thinking about this for awhile now and below are a few thoughts I think will help me, and hopefully you too:

  1. Live each day for itself, separately from yesterday or tomorrow

  2. Do something for yourself that you enjoy

  3. It’s ok to take a break from grief

Spring Renewal

I know it has been said a lot to take each day one at a time, but it is still the best advice I can give anyone who is grieving. Today is a good day and I am enjoying it, but perhaps tomorrow the sadness will return. I can only take one day at a time and feel what I am feeling. Thinking about how I may feel tomorrow puts pressure on the future and no one knows what the future holds.

When you are having a good day, rejoice in it and breathe it in. Try not to think about it too much and just enjoy the day.

When we have anniversaries, birthdays, celebrations on the horizon, it is hard not to think of our loved ones who are no longer with us. There are no magic words to say that will make it better and the feelings still run deep, but I can say with certainty that taking it day by day is the best way to get through it.

Doing something you enjoy is very important to renewing your spirit. It feeds your body and mind with a refreshed sense of purpose. It could be anything from sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying a latte, getting a pedicure, or going for a walk in a garden blooming with Spring flowers. It doesn’t have to be an entire day of indulgence but if it is possible, why not? We must take care of ourselves first so that we can be present for our loved ones who need us. Our spirits deplete and our tanks get empty. Don’t let it run you into the ground. We all deserve a break to take time for ourselves.

I also think taking time by yourself is just as important as doing something for yourself. Many times, we are so busy with life that we forget to connect with ourselves. We all need alone time to sit back and be with our thoughts. I know that might sound scary to some people, so perhaps just taking a walk or walking your dog by yourself is all the time you need, and that’s ok too.

I recently went on vacation and before I went I really thought about what I wanted this vacation to be for me. I thought about it so much I was beginning to worry it wasn’t going to turn out like I wanted it to. All I wanted was a true vacation. I did not want to feel sad anymore, or at least for the week that I was on vacation. I knew it was a tall order. But then I was thinking… why not? I think it is ok to take a break from grief. It can consume us and overwhelm us and we forget what it is like to enjoy life and not have that cloud following us. I am here to report that it did work. I felt lighter, freer and enjoyed every day I was on vacation.  I will say that when I did think of my grief, it was ok, it wasn’t as heavy and it was momentary.

We cannot carry the heaviness around all the time….it changes us and it weighs us down. A break from grief just may be a glimpse into the future to help us see that it is not always going to be this dark.

I hope these steps can help you with the upcoming Spring renewal and lift your spirits.