Guest Author - Rev. Jaclin Meade Scott
Holy Cow! How did we get to the last page of the calendar already? Wow. Moving to a new calendar, taking down the old one, does weird things to your head when youíre grieving.
If Loved One (LO) died this year, taking down this calendar seems like losing LO again, because LO wonít be on the new calendar.
If LO is long gone, the end of another calendar is a reminder of how long youíve been without LO.
The new calendar might be the year you were supposed to take that trip, except LO died first, or someoneís health drastically changed. Already you donít like the new calendar, and it doesnít even hang flat on the wall yet. Are the pictures of your intended destination? Maybe get a different calendar, eh? Why torture yourself.
Was this the year you were supposed to retire? Yeah. Lots of anger there? You cannot let that anger fester. You canNOT pretend it isnít there just because you ignore it for a few hours. You need to work that anger Ė that justifiable anger Ė out of your system. Start your spring cleaning now. Deep, to the back of the closet AND the garage spring cleaning. Hurry.
Was the new year when LO was supposed to graduate, or have a significant birthday? Tough one. Designate a certain candle for LO. Light it when things like this come up, and just be with your thoughts. Tell LO how you feel about the situation. When a young LO dies, so many dreams die with them. Light the candle whenever you want to spend time with LO. No, this is not crazy. You might feel funny? Get over yourself.
Is the new calendar pictures of animals, reminding you of a beloved pet? Do some soul searching here. Will the pet pics comfort you, or torture you? After losing her pet, one woman speaks of breaking into tears every time a cat food commercial came on tv. She just put a box of tissue next to her chair, and let herself sob until she was done. Eventually, she could enjoy her programs without interruption. Do what feels right to you. Do what will help you heal.
Maybe the old calendar is a symbol of the house, job, net worth, vehicle, health that you lost. May we suggest you tear that sucker into as many teeny tiny little pieces as you can? Toss some into the wind. Sprinkle them on a body of water. Toss them into the fireplace. No, this isnít crazy either. Could help a lot.
Is this last page a reminder that you STILL have not joined a grief support group? Tick tock! Go find a listing for one right now, and put the day and time on this last page, and the new first page.
Oooohh. Holidays and Holy Days on this last page. Yuck. Okay, we have to look at this a couple ways.
Did you always think this month has been yucky because of holidays? See, if you have, then itís a deeper problem than grief. And since you havenít been able, or motivated, to change that in yourself is a different ball of wax. Either find the source of the December Doldrums, or just stay away from people so you donít infect them.
If you have usually enjoyed holidays, but canít get enthused this year, thatís okay. Give yourself permission to be excused this time. No tree, no cards, no problem. If somebody doesnít ďget itĒ, leave them be. You donít have the energy to explain. And chances are, their eyes will just glaze over as you talk anyway.
If you want to do a little shopping, you donít have to go any further than your computer. And hey! No parking issues, no crowds, and you always know where the bathroom is. Have a pizza delivered, and work your way down your list. Thereís always gift cards, and youíd be done in a day.
You do need to get out a bit, though. Yeah, you do. Go to the zoo, a movie, a park. Take a train ride or a local tour. Or, make a really clean break, and travel. Go somewhere that these holidays arenít celebrated. (No, we donít know where. Ask a travel agent).
Did you know that loneliness is contagious? Yes. Our government (which branch is not revealed) funded a ten year study at Harvard to conclude that lonely people make other people feel alone. And a lonely person tends to move further and further away from people, increasing the loneliness. It causes health problems, too. But in all that time and money, no antidote is suggested.
Well, hereís the answer, in much less than ten years, free of charge. GET UP OFF YOUR LONELY BUTT!! Go serve a meal to the homeless. Volunteer somewhere. Do something. And for heavenís sake, find a person whoís fun to be with, and be with them! A person with a positive attitude trumps lonely any day.
Youíre going to be okay. You do need to think. You may need to reach out. But IF YOU WANT IT, the next calendar change can be much less traumatic. Next year at this time, you can write on that last page that you have experienced