10805 Main St. Huntley, IL 60142

March Note

From Donna Kelly

Recently I have been walking with several people through a season of sadness, and we have certainly had a season of sadness here at SOTP as we have several members die, and some of our members have had loved ones die. One thing I hear often from them and others is the idea that being sad is somehow a bad thing. Sadness is a very valid and appropriate emotion to feel when we have experienced some type of trauma or loss. That loss could be the death of a loved one, loss of a job, a relationship that has been broken, the loss of physical health, a financial set back, the loss of a pet, a dream that has ended and many other things.

When we experience a loss, we often think that showing our sadness is a sign of weakness. My late husband’s father died when Russ was only 8 years old. When he started to cry at the visitation, he was taken aside by a family member who told him roughly to stop crying because Kellys don’t cry! He learned early that sadness was weakness. (Luckily as an adult he learned it wasn’t true). Unfortunately, so many of us do believe sadness is weakness to be true. In the past, society, especially our northern European cultures tell us to “chin up”, “stand tall”, “don’t let it get the best of us”, “be strong”, and “put on a happy face”. We think we are doing well when we don’t let our emotions show.

But sadness is just as essential an emotion as joy or hope. Granted sadness is not as pleasurable to go through as feelings we deem more positive; but sadness is important and even valuable to experience during an appropriate time in our lives.

When you are grieving any kind of loss, it is normal to feel sad, in fact it might even be necessary to feel that sadness. Sadness gives us time to slow down, pause and experience our loss for what it is. I believe the only true path to the healing of our heart, mind and spirit after a trauma or loss is to embrace the painful feelings, give ourselves permission to feel them and then to begin letting go of them. The pain and sadness that goes alongside loss doesn’t just go away because we decide it’s time to do so. Grief and sadness often come in waves, like the waves in the ocean. Sometimes the waves are high and mighty and wind driven, and they knock us down when they hit us. At others times they may be gentler and just tickle our feet as the come in. As time goes on and we begin to heal, the waves that come tend to be more of the gentler kind and there are fewer high and crushing waves.

Part of sadness is tears. As I walk with those in sadness, I encourage them to give way to their tears. Tears are like a cleansing agent. When we allow ourselves to cry, the tears can be like taking a refreshing shower, where we empty ourselves of the stored-up pain and anguish, take a deep breath and take a few steps forward. And don’t forget to give yourself permission to feel ok or even good when that’s how you are feeling. Feeling happy at times during or following a trauma is just as valid as the sadness. have found that more quickly and deeply you can embrace your sadness, the more quickly you can learn how to live with it or move past it. So, embrace your sadness so that soon you can embrace your joy!

Donna Kelly

Email Donna:  donna@sotpmail.com