Grief and Loss - Learning From Nature
By Tabitha Jayne
Grief is a natural response to the loss of something so
where better to look for understanding about grief and
loss than to nature itself? If we look at the four
seasons we can gain understanding about how grief
affects us and how we can support ourselves as we move
through our own seasons of grief.
Winter arrives the moment we find out about our loss.
Like a blanket of snow the covers the ground, our
knowledge that everything has changed stops us in our
tracks. This is the time to rest and allow yourself
space and time to recover. Just as attempting to drive
in a snowstorm is madness so is hiding your loss behind
a whirl of activity. By giving yourself time, you will
be able to process your loss quicker.
With Spring, our hope begins to return and we start to
see positive changes in our emotions. Just like the
first buds of flowers bursting through the snow give us
hope that relief from winter is on its way. We can start
to see a way through our grief. We have contemplated its
meaning and its effects on our life. We start to make
small changes in our lives that help us adapt to the
With Summer, these positive changes and emotions come
into full bloom just like the flowers. It is a time of
lightness and energy where we have adapted to the
changes in our lives since our loss. We are capable of
enjoying life again. We bask in the life and the winter
of our grief seems like a distant memory.
Autumn brings us a time to gather our experiences
together and start to reflect on them. We can
acknowledge just how far we have came since our loss.
Also we can learn to see the blessings behind our loss
as it gave us room to grow new aspects to our lives.
Just like the harvest, we store this knowledge within to
help us through any further periods of winter.
Seasons blend into each other. Itīs possible to journey
into spring, see the first flowers bloom, only to have
winter suddenly appear and shock us with its wintery
breath. We can be taken by surprise just like with our
grief. One moment we feel more positive about our loss,
then something unexpected and unknown happens to draw us
back into the winter of our grief. We can still
experience the occasional Spring shower in summer that
dents our confidence and reminds us that we have not
completely lost the pain of our loss.
We can go further into nature and look at trees. Despite
the death of their leaves they still stand tall and
proud. They do not cower from their loss but accept it.
Even in the depths of winter they are still beautiful
although in a different way. They sway their branches to
accommodate the strength of a storm. They do not fight
against it but move and adapt to the storm. Only when
they are incapable of moving with the storm do their
branches break and the trees are torn to the ground.
We can then learn from trees never to be ashamed of our
experience of loss. That despite the rawness of our
emotions and the nakedness we feel, we can still be
ourselves. During our journey through grief we can
understand that we have to change and adapt to every
unknown emotion we experience. If not, our grief can
Most importantly from observing nature, we can
understand that grief has its own rhythm and timing that
we cannot change. Yet we can nurture it and just like
global warming has affected the seasons, careful action
on our part can help our seasons of grief to go faster.
This way we can experience the journey through grief,
finding the blessings and beauty every step of the way.