I am troubled by the many people I know that are suffering today, Christmas Day. Many are grieving recent deaths. Others are grieving deaths that get revisited every Christmas.
Almost a week ago, my friend Martha posted on Facebook something to the effect that “Holidays may be nice for other people, but not for me. This is probably the worst holiday season of my entire life.” She suffered the recent loss of her father and was also dealing with other job related losses.
Her comment reminded me of a neighbor (I will call her “K”) I was checking in on two days ago. K. lost her mother no more than four weeks ago. They didn’t get along that well, she confessed, so there was some relief that that struggle was over, but her sense of loss was profound. This Sunday she reflected that for at least two weeks she had been in a mental fog. Nothing was making sense. It was almost as if K. had lost a part of herself.
While we were talking, something new came to me about grief. This came to me while I was empathizing with K.’s mental fog while she appeared perfectly normal. She was not missing an arm or leg. K. hadn’t fallen down a staircase. No one had put petroleum jelly in her eyes or stuffed her mouth with cotton. The mental fog was, as physical cause and effect go, inexplicable.
But there was an explanation for K.’s sense of physical loss. Her energy was sapped so much that she couldn’t think normally, act normally or respond as she was accustomed.
It must have been an angel that helped me see where the energy had gone because it was clear as a bell. Her mother had borrowed it to transition to her new home. K. looked at me and smiled. “Yes,” she agreed. Her mother had needed her energy. And K. was happy to loan it.
Christmas Eve I sent some of K’s story to Martha on Facebook. Not only had she predicted that it would be the worst holiday season of her entire life, Martha’s dog died on Christmas Eve. She was in shambles. But hearing this story and my confirmation that she gladly gave her pet the energy he needed to pass on, she wrote, “That produced a cleansing flood of tears… Thank you for your wise words.” Perhaps my checking in on K. was of greater value than just to her and her mother. Another pet goes forward with the conscious gift of loving energy only her life partner could give.
Good grief, Charlie Brown. It’s Christmas!
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