A New Year’s Grief


By Joyce Nevola, LMSW, Bereavement Counselor

Entering a new year can be an opportunity for growth, renewal, and rebirth. Hope invites us to start over again and to let go of the past. We embrace new horizons, stretch ourselves beyond our self-imposed limits, and rejoice in new discoveries. We make new resolutions. The world around us swells in celebration. A new calendar year of birthdays, anniversaries, and heartfelt traditions has begun.

But when we are grieving, we tend to look back instead of forward. Our grief journey has made us weary; our hearts are still broken; our hope has been dampened; sadness has drained our energy. We do not want to walk into a new year leaving our loved one behind. We are afraid of taking even a few steps forward alone. Everyone wishes us a Happy New Year and we wonder what we have to be happy about.

Grief teaches us to live in the present, to accept ourselves where and how we are at any given moment. It ebbs and flows with sparks of light and darkness all at the same time. It calls us to be gentle with ourselves, to love ourselves more, to embrace our brokenness, and to stand tall in our vulnerability. It teaches us to cry and to laugh without feeling guilty about either. It has no timetable, no calendar page to turn. It honors our loved one at every moment and recreates the love we have shared in new ways without our even knowing it.

January 1st is just another day. 2019 is just another year. Let us live in the hope of today and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.