Autumn and Grief

Today’s post is a guest contribution by one of our Elite Club members, Psychotherapist Allison Villa. Like many of you, the Fall is a time of great loss and sorrow in my family. I asked Allison to create a piece about Autumn and grief, and she wrote this beautiful essay that I’m honored to share. I hope it brings you some comfort if you too find this time of year particularly poignant.

autumn and grief

As She Grieves

By Allison Villa

Here in the northern hemisphere, we are witnessing the change in season. The majestic trees have shed tears of rainbow leaves, preparing for a Winter of hibernation. I am always in awe of Mother Nature’s steadfast grace and resilience as She patiently awaits the Spring, when the re-birth and life force will begin once more. Nature finds peace and calm in knowing that the next season will indeed come.

Though She knows that the seasons will continue, Mother Nature is still grieving. Grieving for the time, the sunshine, the rain, the storms, and the fresh air that created a thriving summer of full bloom and bliss. It’s seems unfair that She only gets a mere season to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of her labours.

Like Mother Nature, we too have seasons: Seasons of love, hardship, work, play, loneliness, and bliss. Most of us are blessed along the way to share these seasons with others. To bear witness to the lives of friends and family, and to have our own mortal experience witnessed in return. We nurture and shape our relationships; contributing to their storms and sunshine and everything in between.

Some relationships hold a connection that cannot be articulated in words. A deep, profound, heart-filling connection: an exchange of energy that is unique only to you. These are the people that hold a special place within. You know the ones I mean. The ones that you carry with you, even when you are separated by cities, countries, oceans, or lifetimes.

The relationships that hold a piece of you.

Life, earth-side, is finite. Our cycle of seasons will come to an end. Death is the one thing that we can all be sure of. Though we know that we will live in these bodies for a brief time, it doesn’t lessen the void when we lose someone we love.

The grief.

Grief is a process.

A deep ache that dims over time, but can re-surface at any moment, filling us with emotion, reminding us of a void that will never be filled. Though we try to fill it with work, with love, with isolation, with sharing – the process is different for each one of us, and evolves along the way. But what binds us all, is honouring that process. Honouring the rage, the hurt, the sadness, the fear of being without, and the memories that will not be. And by honoring the hard stuff, we make space for acceptance.

Acceptance does not mean that we are okay with loss. It is a step towards re-building ourselves as we walk through this world without those who have passed. Our sense of self has been altered forever, and we are finding our way, anew.

Perhaps you are grieving the loss of a full, long life you shared together, or perhaps you are grieving the loss of the life and the memories you didn’t have the opportunity to create together. Both are equally heart-crushing.

As the season changes, let us shift too. As Mother Nature honours the passing of her Summer, let us follow her cues. Do as She does:
Slow down. Hibernate. Get cozy. Sleep more. Listen to your body, your self, your intuition. This season is modeling for us self-care.
As usual, Mother Nature and life are intertwined.

Bundle up, soak in a slow stroll through nature, notice the changes that are happening around you, and also within you. Carry those hearts with you – the ones who are here, and the ones who have gone. Honor the journey of grief, in all of its forms, and in doing so, you will find your way through Winter, and re-emerge anew when Spring returns once more.

Allison Villa
Allison VillaPsychotherapist
Allison has been forever intrigued by people and relationships. She is a proud advocate of self-care, with over a decade of personal therapy (yes, her own therapy!). Traveller. Artist. Writer. Lover of dance parties. Mother of two. Allison is a Graduate of the Toronto Institute for Relational Psychotherapy. She is a member of the Canadian Association for Psychodynamic Therapy and has a private practice in Toronto. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and on her website

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  1. Jackie
    November 25, 2015 / 3:48 pm

    What a wonderful post. So beautifully written and such important ideas to reflect on.

    • Cat Skinner
      November 26, 2015 / 9:20 pm

      Isn’t Allison a beautiful writer? I love what a beautiful, and positive approach she takes to the very necessary passage of grief.