It's a difficult time of year for so many. The holidays, marketed as the season of good cheer, can also bring a multitude of sadness, grief, and loneliness into our lives. The loss of loved ones, whether through death, distance, or parting of ways, feels more profound in a season where togetherness is billed as the ultimate goal. I'm not saying we shouldn't strive for that togetherness. I crave it, too.
But if you often feel pangs of sadness during the holidays, let nature be your comfort. Get outside. Yes, even in the bitter cold; and take a walk through your local parks and preserves. Or, even, local cemeteries. Not always thought of as places of natural beauty, cemeteries are actually quite lovely. Peaceful, with paths to walk, birds singing in the trees, and benches for rest and contemplation.
My parents elected to have their ashes scattered in a river 5 hours away from where I live. I often feel myself missing having that touchstone, that grave marker, that memorial. But walking in local parks, and in local cemeteries, even though they are not physically there, helps me to feel closer to them in some way.
Today I visited my father-in-laws grave at St. Adalbert's Cemetery. I confess, it really helped to be in his presence in some way. It also helped me to feel closer to my parents, even though they are not buried there. Whatever works, I suppose.
After our visit, I took some time to traverse this historic Milwaukee cemetery. There's a lot of beauty there, though it is moments from the freeway and city traffic. And it was bitterly cold! I plan to go back on a warmer day to spend more time taking it in.
In the meantime, take heart, sad souls. Find the joy where you can this holiday season, and embrace those moments of sadness, too. After all, it means that the ones you miss are loved and well looked after in your heart.
A nature lover, bird watcher, wildlife fan, amateur photographer, humane gardener, traveler, and singer of songs. I've been keeping closer to home these days, and truly discovering the beauty that lies in TheParkNextDoor.