The Gift of Comfort this Holiday Season
Gifts in the Midst of Sorrow
Grief. Bereavement. There are no genteel words to use as substitutes to soften the emotional blow that grief and bereavement bring. Grief does not have a finite measure of time and bereavement is not a bridge to be crossed. Many times, we stand in the middle of that bridge, not knowing which way to go. Society tells us that we can’t go back, but moving forward seems irrational. That would mean we are leaving someone behind. We feel as though once we cross that theoretical bridge, we have forgotten the one we cherished for so many years. How do we move on? How do we find comfort within the midst of our sorrow?
It is better to give than to receive. Giving comfort to someone who is grieving doesn’t mean that it takes away their lament. Instead, it offers opportunity for the receiver to surrender and change that sadness to something different. When we give roses to a newly bereft widow, the flowers are still beautiful and have a sweet aroma. That is where the comfort comes in as our gift. The comfort isn’t found in the sweetly scented bouquet. It’s shown in the hand of friendship that gives them. The smile that peeks out as she presses her nose to the petals, represents the white flag of surrender. A dear friend has given her this precious gift of comfort and her heart is immediately lifted.
Many experience grief for years and cannot put into words the variety of emotions they go through on a daily basis. Some have brief episodes of grief that seem to punch them out of nowhere, as if they were suddenly down for the count. Others ignore their grief and attempt to stay several steps ahead by replacing it with unhealthy coping mechanisms. None of these are worse or better than the other. Grief is grief for the person experiencing it. It is love in its deepest expression.
By the same account, we can all become givers in this life. We each have relatable stories to share, to use as a different perspective for others. Giving comfort in the form of listening, holding a hand and giving that initial smile may be exactly what the other person needs. Comfort doesn’t take the sting of grief away, but it softens it. It begins to restore the distress and improves the overall well-being in all of us. That is the strange thing about giving. It has the ability to comfort both the giver and the receiver.
Make sure to give the gift of comfort throughout this Holiday season. You will, no doubt one day, need the same gift in return.