In just a few hours the total solar eclipse of 2017 will happen. My glasses are purchased and my swing is positioned for maximum viewing. I plan to take my break at 2:15, grab a sandwich and saunter outside for 2 minutes and 30 seconds of ooh and aah! Then I’ll return to my day job and the fantastic will be over.
It seems the things we look forward to pass so quickly, while the things we dread or battle through linger. Grief is that way. It’s a total eclipse of joy that doesn’t pass in 2 minutes and 30 seconds, 2 hours and 30 minutes, or even 2 years and 30 days. It takes a long time for the shadow of loss to clear our hearts and let joy shine brightly once again. Sometimes we have to camp out in the shadow and give ourselves time to process the grief.
The important thing to remember is that grief IS temporary. We shouldn’t build log cabins with all the creature comforts in the shadow of grief. We shouldn’t plan to stay. It is just a camp out. Gradually, day by day we can inch our way through the stages of grief and let joy back into our lives.
Emotive Educational Activity
Speak: I will take a step toward joy, today.
Write: Make a list. Write down 5 hobbies, activities, or sports that you once took great pleasure from. Maybe you once loved to make (eat) brownies, or go to the movies, or paint with watercolors. Choose 5 of your once and future favorite things to do.
Activity: Chances are there are still remnants of those activities in your home. Choose one thing on your list to revisit. Go dust off the golf clubs, read the brownie recipe, or check the movie listings. Take a baby step toward the joy you once experienced so vividly. If (when) you find that you are able, take another step toward that activity. The joy may not be there right away. Don’t let that deter you. Joy will return. The important things is to try, move forward. Take a small step toward reclaiming joy.
Warning: There may be a good cry accompanying this exercise. Bringing up memories that you’ve protected yourself from is going to sting. But BE BRAVE! Embrace the pain. Remember from Part 4, despair is a step in the right direction. You must go through despair before healing and acceptance will come to stay.
LaDonna Cole, Author is a Psychiatric Nurse and Anger Management Therapist. She specializes in story therapy, creative connections, and writing books and stories that encourage recovery. Check out her books here.