This season is many things to many people. Gifts. Latkes. Baking. Shopping. Decorating. Getting together. Mailing. Religious services. Travel. High expectations.
It is also a season of higher suicide rates, debilitating depression, anxiety (see list above!), and feelings of inadequacy.
Ooooh! ICKY!! We donít want to think about that sad stuff.
Itís time to check in with your kids and elderly friends and relatives. While we get caught up in holiday hoopla, this group may be feeling a bit neglected, even abandoned. Donít look for logic here. You think ĎSurely they must understand?í
Youíre asking the brain to dictate to the gut feelings, but it doesnít work that way. Finding out how they feel is no easy task. No answer will be forthcoming in a sound byte. Youíre going to have to spend some time, so you really know. Look for clues. Are regular activities ongoing? Any change in eating pattern? School work okay? Is the neatnick suddenly messy? Any sleep changes?
Pay special attention to someone you havenít seen or heard from lately, AND HURRY.
Harry Potter can come to your aid here. You donít even have to know who Potter is. You just need to be someone who loves your kids and takes an opportunity to make sure theyíre okay. Rest assured this is being talked about by your childís peers.
If youíre an avid reader, and devoured the book series, you may have had a twinge of grief after you read the last page. But, we still had the movies coming out, so weíd be fine. Now the movies are coming to an end. Uh oh.
Cast members are being very open about the mixed feelings they have as this gigantic project comes to a close. Read these to your younger kids. Tell the older kids about them, encouraging them to find the articles online. You talk talk talk. Ask what they think about this or that comment by an actor. You listen, listen, listen. Hear whatís behind the words.
The actors speak openly about being proud of the project, glad to move on to other things, while feeling heavy sadness at the same time. Wow. Confusion is normal! One young man admits to crying openly, as even some adults did! Now, THEREíS a discussion waiting to happen!
It doesnít matter that our elders donít know a Potter from a Pink Pea. Tell about what the stars have been through, and are facing. Has the Elder ever gone through anything like that? How did they make it? What helped them? Recalling long ago support systems may lead to ideas for current successes.
Explain to kids what grief is, that it has a beginning and an end. Help develop a list of things to do until it goes away. Talk about what comes next in life and develop a plan for easing into it.
The actors talk about going to school, other acting projects they can take on, promotional tours. Pull up photos from the first and last movies, and talk about life changes.
Some of the original Potter cast members have died. While the characters remained unchanged in the story, different actors carried on the tradition. Characters in the stories have died. This could be an interesting view of the Circle of Life for all. A comparison of fiction and reality, too.
We have a tremendous gift available to us. Use it while itís in the forefront of the news.
If we save one person from suicide; bring one person back from depression; reconnect with one abandoned soul, we achieve