Grief: keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.

For most of the people I know, whether they celebrate Christmas or not, the day after Christmas is always a somber occasion. It could be as simple as post-holiday drop, or the annoyance about going back to work after all the holiday breaks, but I think there is something broader at play. So, I decided that the theme for Advent Day 2 is “Grief.”

For me, it has been a quiet and lonely day, just me and Keely hanging around the apartment. I have felt sad off and on, sometimes heartsick for my parents, sometimes feeling regret over choices I’ve made in life, and sometimes uneasy about the bigger picture of politics/economy/climate change. This year has been a doozy over all for so many reasons, it’s easy to fall into remorse and despair.

Doesn’t sound like fun, and I can understand if people are confused as to why grief gets a whole day in the New Year Advent. Here is the secret about grief that I’ve learned, though: you can’t escape it or think your way out of it, and if you push it away, it comes back into your life stronger and far more destructive.

Mourning the year that’s gone by is necessary. I have to let go of clinging to the sadness or it will eat at me going into the new year.

I feel the need to mourn celebrity deaths and the possible end of democracy in my country, but moreso I am feeling a lot of grief brought up by my journey through therapy this year — not just actual reasons to grieve, but also that the ongoing processing of past traumas essentially halted the majority of my creative efforts.

This is frustrating to me because I have goals concerning my writing career that were derailed for the last year and half due to my anxiety, panic attacks, and PTSD. I’m grieving lost opportunities and failed attempts to move forward.

It’s not all grim, and I know many people who have had much worse happen over the past year, but these are emotions I need to accept or risk getting swamped by.

Being ready for 2017 means facing this sadness, this grief, and embracing it.


Also published on Medium.

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