This Yeah

I've heard it said that 2022 could also be thought of as 2020 Too. Let's hope not. Here's a look at some of the thoughts I had around this time last year - the original 2020.

Anna Hodges

12/8/20212 min read

My birthday is on Friday. My mother, in her usual fashion, sent a box full of wrapped gifts well in advance. This year, I’ll be on FaceTime with her as I open them. This year, my husband and I will spend the holidays away from our families for the first time ever. We’ll do our best to fill our home with all the trappings of a typical holiday. But it won’t be the same.

This year, Joy will be making room for Grief.

Like you, I count my blessings, of which there are many. And I make time for exercise and I meditate. I do all the things one is supposed to do to stay mentally balanced and well. But this year, I’ll be mourning too. Mourning the loss of a holiday season spent with my family. Mourning the loss of Friendsgiving and White Elephant gift exchanges. Mourning the loss of seeing how much my hometown has changed since I left. Mourning the loss of the smell that only lives in my parents’ house. Even mourning the loss of awkward conversations and becoming annoyed by family. This year, when I find myself nestled all snug in my bed, both joy and grief will dance in my head.

I will make room for Grief. I will invite it in and offer it a cup of tea. I will sit with it and process it until there is nothing left to process. And then I will invite it to leave.

When we think of grief counseling, a specific idea tends to come to mind. However, this year our clients are likely to feel grief at the loss of things like tradition and connection, even if they’ve not been directly impacted by the virus. As therapists, our jobs are to help our clients face their feelings, to welcome them, even.

This year, I’ve hung a wreath on my front door for the first time. This year, my husband and I will send out Holiday Cards for the first time. This year, I’ll practice making family recipes for the first time without the pressure of actually having to serve them to family. This year, we’ll be spending the holidays with our dogs. Yes, I’ll recognize my grief, and I’ll honor it. And then it will make room for joy.