In my life, many family members and friends have died. The first was my father when I was 12. Then, in the next several years, all of my mother’s brothers and sisters (my aunts and uncles) died. My first boyfriend died when I was in my twenties and then my best and oldest friend died when I was 35.
I know that my experience of so many deaths is unusual. On the other hand, experiencing the death of a loved one is hard no matter if it is one or a hundred.
As I got older I grew to hate the holidays. The sense of loss and sadness made hearing Christmas carols painful and smiling shopper’s faces too much to bear. A few times I have run away to tropical places to avoid the holidays. It helped some, but did you know that even in Hawaii people put lighted snowmen and Santa on their front lawns?
Then I discovered a holiday that I could celebrate – The Winter Solstice. The Solstice is a day that marks for us the longest night, the shortest day in North America and often here in Seattle, the darkest day.
The Solstice tells me that a day can ONLY get so dark and so short before it will get lighter and longer. That day gives me hope that the same might be true for my grief and sadness. There is hope that the light will return. The Solstice is an invitation to hold on to hope and watch for the signs of light and healing.
Now I gather with friends for a Solstice Soup party on that longest night of the year. We celebrate hope and healing. Perhaps this may be a holiday for you as well.
Winter Solstice this year is on December 21.