Being present is as important as giving presents

A snowy Saranac River (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

I want to thank the people who contact me and let me know their feelings, good or bad, regarding my columns. I appreciate your input. I did receive a few emails regarding my column about embracing the joys and sorrows during Thanksgiving.

One common thread of advice I received was to remind people that there is no timeline to get over a loss. I understand. Each person grieves differently. For starters, loss is not simply shed, like a few Thanksgiving pounds. Sometimes heartache and grief are so tightly woven there is no separation. As friends maneuver through heartbreak, there isn’t a magic number of years that alleviates the emptiness.

We don’t know anyone’s complete story, and holidays are difficult. Especially with social media, where we always see the best photo reel. Smiles can hide any previous arguments and tears.

Recently we attended a friend’s funeral. While I looked around the gathering, I thought of all the firsts this family has to endure. My thoughts traveled from mundane tasks like setting the table or buying groceries to future weddings and grandchildren. All the simple and complex tasks will still occur, just with a different family dynamic.

Tiptoeing around people’s feelings isn’t necessarily the best route, and neither is ignoring the situation. It is never my place to tell another person to “get over” something or someone. Sometimes action is required, but being there is often enough. The holiday season adds extra pressure when people are celebrating togetherness. It is always worth the risk to let people know you see them.

If you know someone with a burden too heavy to carry alone, please encourage them to seek professional help. Look for signs of depression like excess fatigue, lack of self-care, turning down invitations or recently acquired fears. Their troubles may be easier to carry if many people share the weight.

Again, I want to acknowledge those that reached out. I hear your stories. I may not have experienced your circumstances, but it doesn’t mean you are invisible. I hope the people wishing you to move on only have the best motivations. We all want our friends and neighbors to be healthy and happy.


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