Spring and my insides

TulipsThere is a song written in the 1950’s called “”Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.”  It was written in St. Louis by a female lyricist as a stand-alone song (i.e., not for a musical show), about a failed relationship.  But so much of the lyric seems to speak to the heartbreak of grief:

Love seemed sure around the New Year.

Now it’s April.  Love is just a ghost.

Spring arrived on time, only what became of you, dear?

Spring can really hang you up the most.

Spring is showing herself everywhere now.  The parade of bulb flowers is well in progress:  crocus, yielding to hyacinth, stepping aside for daffodils and tulips.  The days are longer.  It’s getting warmer.  And everywhere, you see people out and about.  And among the many people, there are also couples holding hands.

 Morning’s kiss wakes trees and flowers, and to them I’d like to drink a toast.

But I walk in the park just to kill the lonely hours.

Spring can really hang you up the most.

What to do, when the outside – bursting with life and color and warmth – feels so at odds with what is happening internally?  This striking differential may, in fact, amplify the feelings of loss, turning already difficult feelings into something unbearable.

 Love came my way. I thought it would last.

We had our day, now it’s all in the past.

Spring came along, a season of song,

Full of sweet promise, but something went wrong.

What one must remember is that grief knows no season.  It has its own timeline and it will not yield prematurely.  It will take the time that it must take.  If one can hold to the idea that grief is an acute yet temporary condition (despite its overwhelming nature), it may be easier to breathe through the most difficult moments.  It might also be helpful to remember that grief has specific physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral responses.  It may include intense sadness, anger, confusion, disbelief, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, sleep and appetite disturbances.  And a whole host of other expressions.

 All alone, the party’s over.  Old Man Winter was a gracious host.

But when you keep praying for snow to hide the clover,

Spring can really hang you up the most.

Beyond everything, you must remember to treat yourself with extraordinary kindness.  Nourish your body with healthy food.  Exercise if you are able.  Sleep when you can.  If you see them coming, avoid painful situations.  Whenever possible, ask yourself, what feels best?

If the flowers are just too much to bear this year, know that Spring will come again.  And the day will dawn when you will welcome this.  Until then, take the best care of yourself that you can.

— Tom Freeman, Director of Programs at The Healing Center

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