While each person’s grieving process is unique, many people who are mourning the loss of a loved one will tell you that the spring season can be particularly difficult. As the leaves start to turn green and the birds begin to chirp, your brain might naturally want to recall happy memories with your loved one – even though they may be gone forever.
This can cause strong feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety during this time of year that your loved ones need to grieve in spring. Read on to learn more about how to help someone mourn the death of a spouse during this time of year.
How spring impacts grief
In Western culture, we associate spring with new life and youthfulness. This season is seen as an escape from cold winter weather, signaling renewal and a return to growth. And while these notions are largely true –- we do experience a surge of energy around springtime -– they also make grieving in spring complicated.
Most people consider March as a sign that spring has arrived but that doesn’t mean those experiencing loss can simply get over it by then. There are many factors to consider when mourning loss during springtime including one’s proximity to holidays like Easter and Passover which may inadvertently bring up sadness surrounding recent or distant losses.
Mourning loss in springtime
The first few weeks of spring are typically a time for celebration—warm weather and longer days often prompt us to get outside and take advantage of everything nature has to offer. Unfortunately, these months can also be an emotional roller coaster for those who have experienced a death or loss.
When we lose someone close to us, especially during such an exciting time of year, it’s hard not to mourn their loss at a time when many people are rejoicing. This is hard to see coming when you’re going through it, but springtime will make you relive your loved one’s death even more than usual.
Ways to help your loved one
If you’re a friend or family member of someone who’s recently experienced a loss, you’re probably thinking about what you can do to help. With spring now here, we often start thinking about seasonal changes and new beginnings—and naturally, grieving loved ones are part of that cycle.
So how can we support our friends and family members who are mourning a loss? Remember that everyone deals with grief differently; some people will want to talk things out, while others may be more comfortable taking some time to themselves. It’s important to try not to pressure people into talking about their feelings if they aren’t ready. Here are some things you can do to help a loved one deal with grief during springtime.
- Be sensitive to change – The way your loved one is reacting to death might look different than it did last year when you went through a similar experience together. They might even have mixed emotions about certain aspects of life-like looking forward to summer when their spouse died in winter.
On top of that, many events happen at different times throughout the year such as the first day of school, football season, and holidays like Christmas and Easter.
- Keep communication lines open – Even though your loved one might not be opening up about feeling sad, let them know you’re available if they ever need to talk. Call or text occasionally just to check-in and see how things are going.
- Have patience – People deal with grief in their time frame; don’t get frustrated if they take longer than you expect to heal.
- Offer opportunities for distraction – When people don’t feel good, getting out of the house makes them feel better almost immediately. Making plans for activities both short (an hour-long walk around town), and long (season tickets for games), will give your loved one an opportunity to momentarily forget their pain.
There’s no question that grief is a very difficult emotion to deal with, but when it’s combined with springtime, it can become even more complicated. If a loved one is grieving and having trouble coping, there are ways to get through it.
Make sure they have all of their loved ones around them as much as possible. Even if they don’t say anything or try to help, their presence alone will likely bring comfort.