Living With The Seasons

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Inspired by landscape paintings by Italian artist, Marco Ricci, Antonio Vivaldi composed the Four Seasons in 1723. It is considered one of Vivaldi’s most famous works for violin. Each concerto gives a musical expression to a season of the year. The Spring Concerto captures the sounds of birds and streams and gentle breezes, barking dogs and rustic bagpipes.

Listen for yourself – be inspired and revitalised:

Spring is a season of hope, a time of rebirth. Spring awakens all the senses.

The sounds of spring are invigorating. It’s energising to hear the birds chortling and chattering, the bees humming, and the frogs croaking.

The colours of spring are transformative, enlivening our spirits and enhancing our mood. It is a delight to see daffodils and freesias, irises and pansies, cornflowers and lavender, displaying their unique splendour.

The fragrance of spring is intoxicating. Blossom trees, covered in a haze of white, pink, and red flowers, fill the air with a heady perfume. Magnolia trees with their large flowers and waxy petals share their delicate sweet fragrance.

Spring is a celebration of renewal and life. There are lambs jumping in the field and ducklings gliding across the lake; there are fresh green leaves on the trees and new shoots on the grape vines; there are babies to welcome and bless, kiss and cuddle, love and nurture.

Martha Hickman reminds us “Grief has its seasons.” Much like the change of the seasons, grief has seasons of its own. Grief is never static. It is always changing.

Sally Clarkson says, “Souls grow by seasons.” But there is unpredictability to the seasons. It is not an orderly progression.

Some writers talk about the stages of grief. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief–denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. But grief isn’t sequential. It can’t be approached in a linear fashion.

Grief showers us with emotions that are anything but predictable. As Patricia Johnson says, “One day we might desperately try to avoid the pain, anxiety and feelings of helplessness we feel when a loved one dies. Other days, we feel like life has returned to normal—at least until we realise that our life has changed irrevocably.”

J William Worden Ph. D. has written extensively about grief. He proposes an alternate model to the fixed stage process. His approach to the grieving process is called ‘the four tasks of grief.’ It is a flexible model. The phases can be addressed individually or at the same time and can be revisited as required. The purpose of the four tasks is to encourage the griever to take an active approach to their grieving process and to assist them to integrate the meaning of the loss into their lives.

The four tasks of grief are

Task one: Accept the reality of the loss.

Worden argues that accepting the reality of the loss–not liking it, but accepting that it has occurred–is the foundation of healing. Acknowledging loss incorporates a desire to move beyond the initial sense of denial and disbelief.

Acceptance doesn’t demand severing ties to the past. Acceptance marks the moment we are ready to begin our journey of healing.

Task two: Process your grief and pain.

Our society offers lots of opportunities to be distracted from the grieving process. Processing the pain of loss and grief can help stop individuals carrying the pain into their future where it may be more difficult to work through.
There is no way to ‘get around’ grief. We have to be willing to go through it to get to the other side.

Rochelle Perper PhD. says, “The best prescription for grief is to grieve.”

Grief is accompanied by a wide range of intense emotions such as sadness, longing, emptiness, loneliness, anger, numbness, anger, anxiety, and confusion.

People have different, and often contradictory, ways of processing grief. Some talk, some cry, some throw themselves into work or a favourite hobby. There is nothing wrong with processing grief by action as long as you make sure you are using the action to move through your pain, not to hide from it or avoid it.

Task three: Adjust to the world without your loved one in it.

Losing a loved one requires external, internal and emotional adjustments. The task of readjustment happens over an extended period of time.

It is getting used to a new and greatly altered world, to a future fundamentally changed. It requires a commitment to ‘relearning the world.’

Task four: Find a way to maintain a connection to the person who died while embarking on your own life.

It is finding an appropriate, ongoing connection in our emotional lives with the person who has died while allowing us to continue living.

Worden says, “Not accomplishing this task is not to live.”

It is important to remember that life did not stop when the person died and that it is vital for us to continue to live our lives with a sense of purpose and meaning.

We can’t change the fact that our loved one is gone. But, we do have choices in how we respond. We can choose to stay wrapped up in sorrow or we can choose to begin to find a new way forward in life while incorporating the deep profound love we still feel – and always will. We can choose to embrace the overwhelming pain and learn from it. We can choose to heal.

Our connections with our lost loved one do not vanish…but they do change. You will never stop loving the person who died by suicide, but you will find new ways to love and honour them. The critical question is not ‘if’ but how we will remember the person.

As John O’Donohue says,

“Absence is alive with hidden presence; nothing is ever lost or forgotten.”

The seasons are preparatory. “Sometimes the harshest winters yield the most glorious springs.”

Ancient wisdom encourages us to live in harmony with the seasons, to be willing to embrace seasonal change, to welcome the benefits of seasonal time, to live seasonally.

“To everything, there is a season…a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Living more in tune with the seasons gives us an appreciation for change, serves as a marker for revering life and reminds us of the beauty of renewal. Paying attention to the seasons allows us to tap into the wonder and wisdom of creation, to be in tune with the miracles around us.

Wernher Von Braun says,

“Nature does not know extinction, all it knows is transformation.”

Author: Bruce Rickard

Reflections on Suicide and Staying Alive: My son's suicide changed everything. I felt an obligation to understand why anyone would want to end their life. My regular blog posts explore the causes and prevalence of suicide and what is needed to sustain a healthy mind and a hope-filled future.

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