Drifting on a Memory
Every year the holiday season reminds me of people I wish were here. Like clockwork, a sense of emptiness would visit me from November through January. Minor things would trigger my mind to play movies of moments we shared. Right when I thought the film was over, a waterfall of tears touched hurt places I perceived as healed. For a moment, my world would stop as I tried to grab hold of reality. Out of nowhere, an insurmountable flood of feelings would consume me and take me back to the moment I began life without them.
If you’ve ever experienced this, you are not alone. Losing a piece of your heart is a challenging process that only time and understanding can make sense of. My inability to properly heal from grief robbed me of being present. I wasted many holiday seasons and special moments cycling between good and bad memories. Isolation allowed my feelings to transcend time and reminisce as I placed blinders on the world happening before me. Over the years, I quickly learned that’s the worst way to manage things. With counseling, prayer, and time I began to make sense of it all.
Here are a few things I learned to keep my memories from drifting to the wrong places:
Feel your feelings. Find out what provoked the feeling or emotion. Give whatever is hurting a name and why. Knowing this will help you understand your feelings and triggers. Journaling, group therapy, and audio diaries are great tools that can help.
Triggers are emotions, actions, or circumstances that spark a negative emotional response. Instead of triggering pain, replace the negative response with something worth smiling about. Working out, coloring, and cooking are healthy alternatives.
Celebrate the life of the person you love. Grief doesn’t have to feel sad. It’s the perfect opportunity to start a new tradition! Wear their favorite color, create a community service project, or host an annual event with family and friends to remember them.
There is no timeline or set method for healing. Drifting memories of loved ones can take us to good and bad places. It won’t be long until you overcome grief too! Anchor yourself with intentionality to heal. Things get better over time.