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Seasonal Grief - How The Changing Seasons Effect Grief

Published: September 5, 2022

Seasonal grief - Just like life and nature, our grief is composed in cycles. When the weather warms up, those who are grieving may feel it more profoundly as they see those around them excited and active. When winter hits, with those cold and darker days, the winter blues become a real thing as it’s easier to stay inside and skip social gatherings.


This pain only intensifies as each new season brings new memories of the person who has died. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays…Grief is along for the ride with each change in season bringing its own reminders of loss.


Seasonal grief can only be defined as the act of each season tugging at the heart of a grieving person, reminding them of what was lost. It's time we learn more about the impact of the changing seasons upon grief journeys so we can support those suffering loss around us, and ourselves, through seasonal grief.


FALL


The days become darker, temperatures cool, and in many places, the leaves turn vibrant colors before eventually turning brown and falling to the ground. Much about the fall season revolves around the idea of family and togetherness.


As the days cool and shorten, families come together, sharing in traditions and rituals. Pumpkin carving, football games, hayrides, and apple picking bring families together. Holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving are steeped in family traditions.


Fall is nature’s season of death. You can’t get a much closer reminder of loss and death than the browning and fall of leaves—or celebrations of all things unalive, such as on Halloween or Day of the Dead, which is a literal celebration and remembrance of those we’ve lost.



WINTER


If the fall season symbolizes loss or death itself, winter is the darkness that follows. The aftershock. While the winter season officially begins with the Winter Solstice and the lengthening of days, the cold and dark through this season can seem almost never ending.


Winter’s chill keeps people indoors and isolated. For a person who is grieving, isolation can become even more intense. With so much time spent indoors, it can feel as though the entire world has pressed the pause button.


Coupled with holidays and periods where family and togetherness are often the brightest lights through our darkest season, winter is, statistically, the worst season for seasonal grief.



SPRING


Spring is a time of rebirth and renewal. New leaves and flowers emerge from the frozen, seemingly lifeless ground. Baby birds hatch and fill the air with the sounds of their songs. People spend more time outside, and the world wakes up.


So why might this be difficult for a person who is grieving or facing a difficult situation? Because sunnier and warmer days do not simply wash away a person's grief. In fact, sharing in cultural feelings of hope and renewal in the spring can make a grieving person feel as though they are betraying the memory of a loved one.


The process of moving forward with grief takes time, and each person moves through grief at their own pace and according to their own timeline. A grieving person needs time to feel steady on their own two feet, and just like a newborn spring calf, they will wobble and feel shaky.



SUMMER


Summer begins with the summer solstice, the day with the most daylight of the calendar year. Many now spend time outdoors with family gatherings and celebrations. Weddings, family reunions, and vacations are all around us. It can be difficult to feel the weight of grief when so many people are out and about having fun.


Someone who is grieving can feel inappropriate about having a good time without a person they’ve lost. It can also be hard to relax if they go on a vacation or to an event that is now so different from what they originally envisioned or what they experienced in the past with that loved one by their side.



If you or someone you know is suffering from seasonal grief, remember there is no one path to take with grief. No wrong or right way. There is no predetermined list of items that one must work through. Grief is just like the seasons: coming, going, and cycling over time.


If you have any further questions or require any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us here at Roupp Funeral Home. Grief will never fully go away, it will always be along for the ride, but we are here to ensure that you don’t have to go it alone.


Hinz, C. (2021, October 12). Seasonal grief: What the change of seasons can mean for the grieving. Beyond Words Co. Retrieved August 30, 2022, from https://www.beyondwordsco.com/blog/seasonalgrief

Moloney Family Funeral Homes. 2022. How the Changing Seasons Impacts Grief. [online] Available at: <https://moloneyfh.com/blog/changing-seasons-impacts-grief/> [Accessed 30 August 2022].


 
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