‘Merry’ or ‘Happy’ does not fully reflect
all that is present during holidays.
‘Joy’ is closer, with its arms wide open reach
that delights in happiness and bright new faces
but does not turn away from
the missing chairs around the table,
the empty dog bed,
the quiet pain of loss in its many forms.

Holidays can be frenetic, overrun with suggestion
that everything be merry and bright.

We know better.
All of us who dare to love and let go
in a world that promises impermanence?
We know the score.
We choose, breath by breath, to stay engaged anyway.
To expose our tough and tender hearts
to the ways of this world.
To say Yes to it.
To find a way to make a companion of grief.

The searing truth of grief, the secret?
Is to let it in.

Pushing it away seems the answer
shut and lock that door
against this most unwelcome presence.

Grief is crashing waves and hurricane winds
but it’s also a warm blanket
that will wrap you in an embrace
that does not shy away,
with arms big enough to hold it all.

But you must let it find you.
Sink to the ground.
Open the door.
Let grief break you open
to a place you didn’t quite dare believe in.
A place where love eclipses skin and bone.
A place where the fiery heat of loss is not doused,
but re-purposed
into something beautiful and painful and resilient.
A place where your Wild soul roams free.

Grief is a labyrinth path that visits and re-visits
the urge to look away.
We turn away but are drawn back in
by the emptiness that we otherwise face.

Swells of emotion come when you expect them.
And they bubble up uninvited and inconvenient.
Other times.

Do your best to tolerate it.
Your heart, bruised but still beating,
will heal and re-shape itself like so many natural things:
the jack pinecone seeds released only by fire
the grain of sand turned to pearl
and that space in your heart
that breaks open —
when you feared it would only break apart —
taking you to a deeper place
where sorrow and celebration are as one.

Where, looking inward with soulful Wild eyes,
you see the trustfalls you agreed to
and you respond without hesitation,
knowing you would agree to them again.