Friday, February 3, 2023

Longing

by Winona Jane Agir | December 16, 2022

Do you miss someone? How do you cope with longing? How does it feel? How long will it take for you to be okay?

During every Christmas season, there is a certain longing I will always feel. I often find myself down, sickly, and lacking during this time of the year. It has been five years since I lost my light and best friend – my mother. I lost her during the most joyous month of the year, December. Some might think I should not feel this way anymore because it has been five years already, but it is really a different, difficult, and heavy feeling whenever I hear the word December.

In an article by an assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Statistical Modeling Core of Women’s Health Research at Yale, Paul Maciejewski, yearning is a significant aspect of grief and is a feeling that mainly reflects the absence of a departed loved one. It is a longing for reunion with someone who died, a heartache because of an incapability to reconnect with the person. He added that a person may cognitively accept that their loved one died but may still long for them and feel the pain of grief.

Yes, I already accepted the fact that I no longer have a mother. I no longer have someone who cooks delicious meals at home whenever I feel tired and crave a home-cooked meal. I no longer have someone I can rely on and talk about anything because she always has her ears open for me. I no longer have someone I can hug whenever I feel like life is so hard on me. But accepting it does not mean I no longer yearn for my mother’s care.

There may be different forms of longing and ways to cope with it. An effective coping mechanism for me is acknowledging what I feel. Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who was a former writer for Verywell Health, stated in an article that acceptance only means letting your emotions out and letting them be without trying to suppress or change them. It denotes that you know what you feel, and you accept that these feelings exist and will not last.

Whenever I start to yearn for my mother, I accept my feelings and do not deny them. 

For anyone with a longing in their heart, it is not a weakness to feel that way. Embrace and acknowledge that feeling. It is okay to feel a certain kind of yearning if you have lost someone or something. As Susan Cain once said, life is more moving and richer when we learn to accept pain, bittersweet feelings, and sadness. Life is not always all about victory, happiness, and good times. There may be bad days, defeats, or sorrow. Accepting every good and bad feeling can help deepen our relationships and connections to people as it improves our sense of humanity. This could help people be empathetic to others. 

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