The other is a resolution to change. It's usually something common like to lose weight or exercise more. Perhaps it's to take that vacation or get a new job. For others, it may be to organize themselves better or to write that book they've always wanted to write.
For the bereaved, especially the newly bereaved, the dawning of a new year can be a trigger for your grief. The last thing you may feel like doing is celebrating and welcoming the new year.
If you lost your loved one in this past year, this will be the first "new year" without them. It might be an entire year of "firsts" without your loved one in your life. If your loss is less recent, it can still be a reminder of another year that has passed without your loved one present in your life. Significant family events and even just the day to day where your loved one has been missed. The start of the new year may be a marker in time of your loss. Wherever your are in your journey, you are. And it's perfectly okay.
While everyone will grieve differently, it's important to realize that feeling sad, angry, or simply missing your loved one with a heavy heart is normal, especially on trigger days like this. It's also okay if you want to go out and celebrate the dawn of the new year, too.
What I am proposing is this: a new year resolution for the bereaved. Choose one thing that nurtures yourself and one thing that honors your loved one to do in the coming year. It can be for one day or it can be a new routine or a part of your every day. Perhaps you can resolve to do one, some, or all of these things, or, perhaps, something entirely different. It's all about what feels right for you.
- Allow yourself to feel whatever you feel, whenever you feel it. It can and probably will change from time to time, sometimes minute to minute.
- Give yourself permission to have fun, laugh, celebrate, and enjoy life.
- Be patient and gentle with yourself. Grief is a lifelong journey. Wherever you are on your path is where you are. You can have both laughter and tears, sometimes at the same time!
- Choose one way to honor and celebrate your loved one(s) who has died this New Year's Eve. Wear a photo button, light a candle at midnight for them, raise a glass in a toast to them and all they brought to your life, whatever resonates with you.
- Resolve to find ways to incorporate your loved one into your life this coming year. Perhaps it's to celebrate their birthday in a special way, to wear a piece of jewelry of theirs or that reminds you of them, to make a quilt of their clothing to snuggle up with in the cold, or create a digital picture frame of your favorite photos. There are so many things you could do. These can be therapeutic and healing activities for anyone recovering from loss.
- Find a way to nurture yourself on a regular basis. Taking a quiet bath, try sitting quietly or meditating, treat yourself to a massage, Reiki, or a spa treatment, try yoga or dancing, go for a walk outside, take some time for you. Self-nurturing is important to healing.
Wherever you are in your grief journey, I wish you a peaceful new year, full of love, light, and healing as you walk your path out of the darkness. I'd love to hear what you plan to do to nurture yourself and honor your loved one in the coming year.
Peaceful New Year!