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Why spring can make us sad

For most of us, seeing spring flowers emerge after a dull, wet winter brings joy. They seem to offer hope and the promise that warmer, brighter days are coming. But, for somebody who is grieving, that first spring can often seem difficult. It can be like looking in the face of hope, yet not really feeling any hope. We often talk to people who feel sad that their loved one won’t enjoy another spring with them.

In an online blog, a lady called Sherry Cormier, says: “A number of people have exclaimed to me: “It’s spring and it’s beautiful and yet I only feel sadder. I thought my sorrow would lift in the spring, yet I feel even heavier.” They go on to ask: “This doesn’t make sense, does it?”

She adds: “They are right – how does this make sense, as don’t we think of spring as a time of re-birth? The trees are sprouting buds and leaves and the grass is getting long enough to mow. I believe it’s precisely because spring is so lovely and new that this season of growth makes our hearts ache again for what or who we lost. This contrast between the re-birth of springtime and our own state of bereavement is perhaps the single biggest reason why some of us carry greater sadness in this season.”

In another article about grief, Alan D Wolfelt PhD says:Your ‘pangs’ of grief may also occur in response to circumstances that remind you of the painful absence of someone in your life. For many families, certain times have special meaning - such as the beginning of spring or the first snowfall - and the person who died is more deeply missed at those times.”

For others experiencing grief, an end to long dark evenings can sometimes help a little. And, after all this rain, an opportunity to perhaps potter in the garden and enjoy country walks and pub lunches with friends, might make daily life while grieving just a little easier to bear.

Spring bulbs can also be a real reminder of that person who has died, particularly if they were originally a gift from them, you bought them together or they planted them.

One lady we spoke to recently recalled how her Dad was a keen gardener. He had made a big effort that preceding autumn, planting up the garden with myriad spring bulbs. He died in the winter but, come the spring, his hard work was there to observe and the garden was a mass of colour. For the family, it brought a mix of emotions; sadness that he wasn’t there to enjoy the sight, mingled with love for him and the memory of him out in the garden.

When our families come to collect their loved ones ashes, we often suggest that they plant a few bulbs to mark the spot where they are scattered – as it’s sometimes hard to remember exactly where they were placed. We also have a little card with a gorgeous butterfly on it, which we give to families. It is made up of tiny wildflower seeds which, again, can be planted to mark the spot where the ashes are scattered.

If you’re struggling to cope this spring, please do pop in for a cup of tea or call us.

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