Grief as the Darkness Stretches

Grief as the Darkness Stretches November 18, 2022

“No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear.” – C.S Lewis

For many, the almost-Winter and Winter months in the Northern Hemisphere present challenges to the heart. Death anniversaries. Loneliness. Memories that rustle the present. Family stories that are louder and ouchy.

This will be the first Winter I experience without my parents in the world. I am preparing for rough spots ahead of time. The slight edge of fear already noticeable out of the corner of my eye. Waiting.


Image by YES � I Love the Nature �� from Pixabay

When Grief Calls to Grief

I find my parents in the decorations I will pull out in the next week. The small bells my mom got from her mom and her mom’s mom. The delicate ceramic and high-pitched ring. A box I always put in my essentials when I pack for fire season.

Each bell is a sound of grief. And joy. Both. Bittersweet.

I will pull out the decorations that have rested on shelves in apartment after apartment, home after home. Some I have made. Some I have inherited. Some were gifts. Some I have bought, trying to fill in the gaps of those I have given back or away.

I will dress a smaller tree because of kittens and curiosity. But also because I’m still figuring out what holidays look like in the aftermath of loss. I had parents who loved the magick of the season and would stretch it out for months. I would go home every year, but there is no home to go back to now.

I know this sounds sad, but I enjoy lingering in the bittersweet. It is not a punishment or a depression. It is a reminder that there are ghosts in the halls of time. It is a reminder of love given and received, now different. I remember how grateful I am for it all. Yes, all.

Supporting the Journey of Grief

Last year, I spent a lot of nights walking the streets of my neighborhood, looking at all of the holiday lights and displays. It reminded me of home and hearth. It reminded me of gatherings and families and the way traditions are born again.

One night last year, I remember following the sidewalks in a daze, as I knew my dad was dying – and more quickly than any of us imagined. I was praying, maybe, or hoping, that I would be able to tell him things one last time.

I came in from the cold and recorded a story of me seeing the lights. How they reminded me of home and holidays of the past. I sent him the recording and my brothers played it for him before I made it home.

This blog is about storytelling as an act of resilience and resistance. This is why I write about all of this. All of the places that have scared me and held me anyway.

I offer this to you too.

Allow yourself to be in the places of honesty. Even the ones that feel like it’s too much and too soon and too real. Let yourself be messy. You owe yourself that. You owe ourself so much truth that it shines like a star along the shape of your life, illuminating the being you are – for all to see.

Take deep breaths as often as you can. Even when you think you are breathing just find thankyouverymuch. Take another breath. In the cold night. In the warm day. Let your lungs become burdened with life. Let your blood fill with oxygen and energy. Bring yourself back to life again and again.

Know who can hold you. Find the people who honor aching and dark jokes and real fears and the bottom edge of it all. Reach out to them as much as you can. Listen when others tell you what is going on. Listen between the words too. You don’t have to say anything profound. Just be there. Send cookies. Send GIFs. Send small pieces of energy as gifts from the dark. We all need to know each other in these places.

Make the magick you need. You do not have to create the most profound spell to make it all better. You do not have to weep at the feet of the godds to connect and be seen. You just need a quiet moment, maybe a candle, and often a confession of what you really desire. Do it. Step into it. Call it back to you.

I honor the places you might travel in your grief.

I honor the wild places of loss and longing.

You are not alone.


Wanna have a safe space for your grief? Join Marie and me in Writing Between the Worlds: Tending the Well of Grief. Details are on my website and at this Facebook event link.


About Irisanya Moon
Irisanya Moon (she/they) is an author, witch, international teacher, and Reclaiming initiate who has practiced magick for 20+ years. She wrote 7 books (so far), including Pagan Portals (Reclaiming Witchcraft - 2020, Aphrodite - 2020, Iris - 2021, Norns - 2023), Earth Spirit (Honoring the Wild - 2023, Gaia - 2023), and Practically Pagan: An Alternative Guide to Health & Well-being - 2020. Irisanya cultivates spaces of self-care/devotion, divine relationship (whatever that means to you), and community service as part of her heart magick and activism. You can read more about the author here.

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