The dawn of a new year is touted as an exciting time when family and friends come together to celebrate possibilities. But not everyone feels that way. As we move towards New Year’s Day and a review of the year gone by, it is natural to remember the losses that have affected our life this past year.
“Grief is the feeling of reaching out for someone who has always been there, only to find that when we need them, they are no longer there. “
Adapting to the absence of a loved one is difficult enough but as the new year dawns and folks are making resolutions, the reminders that your life has changed can seem especially painful. It’s normal to grieve the loss of plans you may have had for a future with your loved one. It’s also normal to worry that you won’t be able to handle whatever surprises the coming year brings now that you’re on your own. Those feelings are not illogical or irrational, they are part of the normal, healthy range of emotions that people feel as they come to terms with life after a loss.
And you’re not alone in feeling them… As the new year dawns, there will be plenty of hurting people, who given the opportunity, will want to talk about someone they miss or some dream that has died. You will become deeply beloved by people who feel safe enough to talk to you, about what is weighing on them. This year, dare to bring up the topic of change, let folks decide whether they’re ready to talk about it. You may find that you end up with new friends and new memories.
“My mother died ten years ago on the day before Thanksgiving and that holiday hasn’t been the same for me since. But I always take the opportunity to toast my Mom and say how much I miss her. Invariably, the others at the table start talking about people they miss. The stories and the memories they evoke are filled with laughter and tears…”
~ Russell Friedman ~
Being afraid to talk about sad feelings can deprive us all of the loving memories that were also attached to our relationships with people we have lost. Overcoming this fear and talking about what we’re feeling allows us to reclaim memories of the person we’re missing and it can open the doors to hearing wonderful memories from others.
Written by Catherine Mitchell, Certified Grief Recovery Specialist serving the Durham Region.