Have a hygge February

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Relaxing with a good book (or two or three) is quite hygeelig!

This winter the word hygge seems to be everywhere, and from what I’m reading it sounds like a marvelous idea. Although we Americans often translate it loosely as “cozy”, that doesn’t capture the full meaning of the word. In The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through  the Danish Concept of Hygge, author Pia Edberg gives her definition of hygge :

hygge (n/vb.): /HOO-gah/

the Danish concept of coziness…

…the art of creating warmth, comfort, and wellbeing through connection, treasuring the moment, and surrounding yourself with the things you love.

Flaky, sweet, pastries are hygge, especially warm from the oven, as is brisk exercise such a snowshoeing or skiing; the hygge feeling is enhanced, according to my books, if such activities are shared with friends and/or family. All of the authors I’ve been reading stress the importance of social connection and togetherness, and stress that these strong relationships and making time with each other a priority are what help them survive their long, dark, frozen winters (kind of like our Minnesota winters, yes). Pia notes that hygge is a lifestyle that feels like being “wrapped up…in a big hug.” You’ll know you’re experiencing hygge when you sense that you are really home: safe, content, happy, and grounded in the present moment.

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Hygge is a warm puppy to snuggle with….
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waking up in the morning with hot tea, fuzzy warm socks, and cosy throws…
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a vigorous hike along the lakeshore in the brisk winter air (yeah, right, sounds great in theory…)

half a lifetime

My dad died suddenly, face down in the snow, 24 years ago today. It’s somehow unsettling to realize I’ve lived half of my lifetime without him, when on that nightmare day 24 years ago, I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it.

The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not “get over” the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Most days are okay, are fine. But there are still times, like today, when I miss him so much I can sense my broken heart twisting, aching, inside my chest. 

The thing about broken hearts, though, is that even though they never fully heal, they get bigger, and stronger, and filled with more and more love. They become works of art.

You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly–that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.

Anne Lamott 

I still miss you, daddy, but I’m so grateful I had you for 24 years, and that I have so many comforting memories and stories of you, and most of all, I’m so grateful you and mom taught me how to love.

And thank you for teaching me to dance with a limp.