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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 change.

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 overcome us.

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.


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