To All Class of 2020 Graduates and Parents

girl at graduation with cap and gown facing peers

A note to all graduates (8th, high school, college, and beyond) and their parents:

I can’t imagine. Working so hard, spending so many years, and then bam, nothing. I got to have an 8th grade promotion, a high school graduation, a college graduation, and opted out of my graduate school ceremony. I had all those events that tag along with it. Senior skip day, prom, dressing in a cap and gown, spring sports and banquets, senior fun night. I also had a choice about whether I participated or stayed home. I am so deeply sorry for those of you who don’t.

I still remember both my high school and college ceremonies. The event itself, the family parties, and even better, the parties with friends after. These memories are stored for life, and I want to tell you again, I am so deeply sorry if you have to miss these major life milestones.

I write this apology to you as an adult who who can recognize on a profound level just what this loss might be like for you.

I know my apology, my sorry might not mean much because there is nothing myself or the other adults in your life can do to save you from the heart ache of missing out. What I want you to hear though is that we see you, we feel you, and we know a lot about grief and loss and what it feels like.

I hate to be the bearer of this news, but grief and loss will come throughout your life. It may stay longer than you’d like. It comes in the stages of denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and acceptance. You might think grief and loss only shows up when someone dies, but I hope you learn early that this process will come in many forms. Not because I want you to experience it, but because it will in fact come. Loss of friendships, loss of intimate relationships, change of jobs, change of schools, death of animals and people, climate change, change in leadership, and loss of graduation to name a few. There is so much that can evoke the strong winds of grief and loss.

Yours is a generation focused on being happy, and I am so thankful for the joy it brings. But I caution you not to overlook or push away the feelings of grief and loss that may be knocking at your door. Because the catch with grief and loss is, it comes at its own time and stays for however long it decides. It’s a feeling we can’t control. No matter how much you try and bury it, it finds ways to emerge. So welcome your sadness, your anger, and your hurt. Tend to those feelings with the great love you possess. Treat yourself the way you would a friend. Be kind, understanding, and patient with your feelings and yourself.

And when you can, check in and be real with your feelings and share them with your friends. One of you needs to step up and say something. You don’t have to pretend it’s all ok, and you don’t have to go it alone.

Us adults, we may not walk in your shoes, but we’ll do our best to be there for you. We all know about grief and loss and the pain it comes with. We will hold your hand and heart, offer you love and support, sit quietly with you because no words can undue what’s been done, and get through this time.

Happy New Year!

To all those seeking to climb, move, or shake mountains.

To all those who have overcome mountains and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

To all those who are looking forward and not going to let any mountain stand in their way.

To all those who need to just kick back and think about what the mountain in their life means or appreciate the mountain they are on.

Wishing you all a New Year full of just what you need. Many blessings. ❤️

Tough Times At The Holidays

People often feel puzzled as to why “the happiest time of year” leaves one feeling sad, depressed, overwhelmed, angry, and lonely, especially if you are someone who has a “good life.” It doesn’t seem to make sense.

I want to pose the idea that for some people trauma gets kicked up over the holiday season. Holidays are full of memories, smells, sights, tastes, and sounds. If you had a childhood that was problematic, especially around the holidays, it is quite possible you are feeling either consciously or unconsciously activated by the holidays.

In the writings of trauma specialist Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D., he reflects on how the body holds sensory memory even though our thinking memories of the past may be suppressed. For some, the smell of a pie baking in the oven evokes a warm feeling of yumminess. For others, the smell can be repulsive. Why is this? The body holds memory in all forms and even though we may not know the conscious memory of why we feel a particular way, it is stored inside of us. If there was an incident where an angry parent smashed a pie against the wall and flew into a rage, this may haven gotten wired into the brain and body. Pie might not invite warm feelings any longer. Especially if something like this happened repeatedly.

Grief and loss is another feeling stored in the body and is often triggered around holiday time, no matter how long ago the loss was.

We are products of our past. Be kind to yourself this holiday time and reach out to those who love you if you are having a tough time. Share your stories with someone you trust and take really good care of yourself. Remember, this is a season, and seasons always change.

Holidays Are Hard

Don’t mean to be a downer here, just a realist trying to provide support for those of you who don’t have a picturesque family.

Even if you do have a picturesque family, it doesn’t mean perfection lies there either.

If you have a less than ideal Thanksgiving, you aren’t alone. Kick the fantasy about what you think everyone else has and know in every social media post there will be a story you haven’t heard. You won’t see the tension, the looks, the alcohol consumption, the tears, the absent folks, the loss, or the feelings stuffed inside. Sure, some people might have it all this holiday, and I hope you do too. But if you don’t, I get you. Be kind to yourself.