companionship through the holidays

Over the next few weeks, I want to explore the holidays – what it’s like for grieving people, how friends or family might help, and what to do to help yourself survive this season with at least a little peace.

Now that we’ve come through Thanksgiving in both the US and Canada, the speed begins to pick up. As I write this, in my corner of a very crowded cafe, the streets are filled with couples and whole families, shopping for the holidays. The fact that it’s gray and raining hasn’t stopped anyone.

I can’t help it. In crowds like this, I search for the ones who are present, but not here. I look for the people whose faces are drawn, who are barely keeping it together. Do you do this? Look for people who know? People who are maybe missing someone they can’t live without? How many people out this weekend, shopping for gifts, attending city tree lighting events, juggling for parking spots or places in line, are going through the motions, or thinking of all the things their person has no need of anymore.

Grieving people are everywhere. I can’t help but look around me for the signs. The holiday season always seems especially cruel to me, knowing how many are in pain.

Grieving people are everywhere. You can't miss them if you know the signs. Click To Tweet

Since my own early days, the only thing I’ve found that helps in times like these is companionship. Sometimes that means other people, but I’m speaking in broader terms: what things can you lay down alongside your grief, alongside the empty space? Not to make things “feel better,” but to companion you inside what is.

As we move through this holiday season, can you find small comforts? Small pockets of beauty, to lay down beside your pain? What might those things be? And if you can’t find them, can you find the part of you that longs for beauty or companionship? Sometimes, that small light of longing is the thing to follow. There are some other ideas about how to take the theme of the season and make it your own – including how to find gratitude alongside your grief – in this essay.

Something else that can help (if even a tiny bit) is to leave a little beauty or love for someone else. So many of you have ordered multiple copies of my book to gift to relatives, friends, colleagues, and organizations. Many of you have left rogue copies of the book in public places for people to find when they most need a random act of love. I love this idea! In fact, I want to make it an official thing. If you’d like to be part of this invisible team of people leaving little packages of love and companionship out in the world, check out this video – I spent my 4th Thursday in November creating your personal video invitation to join this team.

Small islands of love, connection, and comfort. That’s the plan for this season, friends. And if you don’t have it in you to do this for someone else, I hope someone else’s love and companionship finds you, wherever you are.
How about you? What small moments of companionship have you found? How do you companion yourself during this holiday season? What are your ideas for stitching random acts of companionship into the world? Let us know in the comments.