Seasons for Growth, Living with Grief, Loss and Change in Life

J. Breen, LPC

It is not possible to be human and avoid the normal and often valuable experience of loss and grief. Loss and grief are issues which affect all of us at some stage in our lives. Learning to deal with these issues is central to personal wellbeing and happiness. There are many different losses that occur in one’s lifetime. The one that people automatically think of when grief is mentioned is death, but there are many others such as illness, disability, adoption, abuse, workplace change, unemployment, cultural dislocation, marriage separation and divorce. Experiences such as these bring about change, both for the individual and for the family as a whole.
Seasons can represent a series of phases or stages within the lifecycle and the grief cycle. Change goes on within each season, and a transition is required for the shift from one season to the next as we go about our grief process. In the “springtime” of our lives, nothing matters but what our future holds. Loved ones may be healthy or successful and relationships stable. In summer, we may see new possibilities and experience little pain. Everything feels just right during the “summertime” of our lives.
The fall or “harvest” time often greets us with challenges for which we aren’t prepared. This time challenges the very core of everything understood. We redefine our lives and ourselves, adjust goals and make changes. Sometimes the season feels like eternity, especially for people experiencing repeated loss and grief.
The “winter” time of life is cold. There is nothing left and you simply feel burned out. You have little hope, motivation and desire. You experience one loss after another. You struggle with loved ones, relationships and change. You aren’t accepting of anything in your life. Many families feel this way while experiencing a season in which a loved one has slipped into a depression.
We all face pain, grief and loss at some point or season in our lives. The key is what we choose to do with these experiences. Perhaps we can deal with these seasons of our life through “surrender, self-care and hope.” Change is inevitable and it is best not to fight it. Sometimes we have to accept the season we are in. With acceptance comes greater awareness and knowledge.
Take care of yourself during a season in which you are unprepared, taking time to reflect, organize your thoughts and challenge negative thoughts. Look for hope and a new experience in the things around you. What could your current position in the world be saying to you? Is there something you need to change in this season of your life?