An Ode to Grief

Ryli Meyer, LMSW

Grief comes in waves, and if I have learned one thing about this feeling and emotion is that it lives, especially during the holiday season. Grief doesn’t get easier, but it changes and moves with you. Unchecked Grief becomes a shadow beside you. Navigating with Grief can become familiar; a language to which you approach the world. A bleak perspective where you envision yourself isolated even while embraced. An extension that adds shame and guilt. An endless “I’m sorry.” Grief can be a perspective and voice that can skew the image of yourself and how you relate, communicate, give, and accept love from people.

For many, grief can be detrimental to relationships that require true intimacy, trust, and commitment; the tendency to try to avoid Grief at all costs, or to impulsively imprint yourself and attempt to mold someone else’s behavior to buffer the possibility and fear of loss. This tendency, in my experience, only pushes people further away, repelling them from true intimacy, affection, or tolerance to your energy.

There are vast studies on trauma and that significant childhood trauma and loss can change developing brain chemistry in formative years. That knowledge is powerful to take with us into adulthood and loss in our adult years to inform our experiences. Grieving can be traumatic for many of us. These traumas can change the way we think, and ultimately react to our emotions and interact in our lives.

Below are some important tips and reminders about navigating grief around the holidays:

  • Everyone experiences grief. How it manifests is different in all of us.
  • It is okay to be vulnerable and feel your FEELINGS 
  • Take time for self-care
  • Connect with others who are also grieving- there is POWER in connection
  • Grieving can be a traumatic experience, be compassionate to yourself
  • We can heal from persistent grief

Journaling or Reflecting on the Following Prompts can be SO beneficial to untangle your emotions around the grief that you experience around the holidays. Be patient and kind to yourself and reach out for the support that you need <3


Understand Your Triggers

  • What happened? What happened to you? How did it make you feel? What associations, language, non-verbal’s, actions, behaviors of others make you tick, or remind you of what happened? What do they represent? What meaning do you place on them? What are your reactions?

Explore the “WHY?”

  • What ways have you learned to cope and react? How have these reactions helped protect you in the past? Why is learning to change your reactions important to you?

Create Purpose

  • What do you value? What is important to you? What drives you? How can you learn from your experiences to create a brighter future? How can you hold those that you’ve lost close to your heart in your day-to-day?


  • We cannot change what happened, but we can re-frame the way that we think about what happened for our present selves.

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