As spring emerges, we may remember this as “the winter that wasn’t” but somehow we still yearn for the daily dose of sunshine that lifts our spirits. The trees have lain dormant for months, their branches bare and without life. Soon blossoms will emerge and once again the leaves will appear, the birds will nest and the squirrels will climb about the branches. Full of life, the tree was never really gone, it just rested a while to regain the strength it would need in the months ahead.
Grief is like the journey of that tree. We feel bare and cold at first and have no energy to welcome others into our space. Yet as we heal, we begin to re-emerge and reach towards new experiences. Our time of rest gives way to a newly rejuvenated spirit. We begin to realize that those we love continue with us on our journey. They are never more than a thought away; more than a memory, they are a part of us now and ever will be.
So we welcome the spring and all that comes in the months ahead. We anticipate the holidays with a touch of bitter-sweetness as memories of celebrations past remind us of those who are no longer here to share the special day with us. Yet we gather friends and family around and create new traditions, while still honoring the old ones. Jim Rohn said, “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”
Shel Silverstein understood the nature of change and explored it in his book, The Giving Tree. In it a tree loved a little boy very much and gave to him all that the tree had. Many years passed ….
And after a long time the boy came back again.
"I am sorry, Boy," said the tree, "but I have nothing left to give you-
My apples are gone."
"My teeth are too weak for apples," said the boy.
"My branches are gone," said the tree.
"You cannot swing on them-"
"I am too old to swing on branches," said the boy.
"My trunk is gone," said the tree.
"You cannot climb-"
"I am too tired to climb," said the boy.
"I am sorry," sighed the tree.
"I wish that I could give you something... but I have nothing left. I am an old stump. I am sorry..."
"I don't need very much now," said the boy, "just a quiet place to sit and rest. I am very tired."
"Well," said the tree, straightening herself up as much as she could,
"well, an old stump is a good for sitting and resting. Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest."
And the boy did.
And the tree was happy.”
May each of you find a place to sit and rest for a while.
Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.
Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons/Steve Parker