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Summer solstice

June 21, 2023, is the date of the summer solstice here in Nova Scotia and officially marks the start of the new season. It is the longest day of sunlight hours of the year and for the summer season, the days will get shorter. The summer solstice is celebrated in cultures and religions around the world with various traditions, holidays, and festivals. In some cultures, folks celebrated by having bonfires, picnics/feasting, singing, dancing, and preparing for the hot summer days ahead.


Many people look forward to the season of summer to have fun outdoors with their friends and family. These summer get togethers can be really relaxing or can be seen as a source of stress. For those experiencing grief, these are especially problematic. On one hand, they want to have fun, but on the other they may be still feeling a loss and not want to allow themselves moments of pleasure.


As a death doula I understand that the first summer after a loss is likely to be the most difficult one. Here are some tips, gathered from various sources to deal with the summer season, regardless of the length of time it has been.


1. Allow yourself the time and space that is needed to grieve. The most important part of the grieving process is to allow yourself to feel your feelings. Surround yourself with the company of good friends and supportive family members. In his book “The Wild Edge of Sorrow,” Frances Weller writes of the intimate connection between grief and soul, that how going through our own grief is the only true way to find our deepest connection to ourselves, our world, and each other.


2. Take things at your own pace. It’s equally alright to accept summer social invitations as well as to decline them. Choose the events you want to attend wisely. There is no reason to feel guilt if you have a good time at the events you do choose to attend.


3. Have an escape plan- drive yourself, go with a partner who will leave with you when you want to leave, or take a taxi or other service provider if you need to leave the event due to swelling emotions.


4. Have fun- use some of your favorite summer outdoor activities as an outlet for your grief. Connecting with nature, especially through exercise, is a great way to deal with grief. Go for a hike, a walk along the beach, attempt wind surfing or paddle boarding, go swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, or camping, join in an impromptu beach volleyball game, build a sandcastle or collect seashells/sand dollars along the beach, or whatever else might appeal to you. Anyone want to try (clothed) yoga on the beach with me? Being in nature provides a calming space for grieving a loss. Watching a sunset is especially therapeutic.


5. Consider creating a new summer tradition to honor your loved one. It could be something as big as a trip or as simple as writing their name in the sand. Whether it’s something big or small, consider dedicating some time and space to purposefully remembering and celebrating their life.


6. Do something to honour the memory. Take advantage of the season and plant a flowering shrub or fruit tree in their honour. You could make their favorite dish or baked item to bring to a barbecue. Creating unique and special ways to memorialize a loved one will help keep their memory with you as you grieve. Pick a nice day to visit your loved one’s grave site and decorate it with flowers, photos, and other special mementos. Just be sure to follow the cemetery’s rules regarding grave site decorations.


In conclusion, equinoxes and solstices cycle through the four seasons continuously. Although seasons change, remember that love never dies. A death indicates a change in relationship. Embrace your pain as you continue to move onto the next season of your life.



Sources


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https:// www.tributearchive.com10 Summer-Inspired Ideas for Grieving the Loss of a Loved One

Posted by: Erin Ward in Grief and Guidance | JULY 9, 2021


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