Healing in the New Year

I love a new year, a fresh start, and a welcomed beginning. But new years are also tinged with sadness and nostalgia for me. Each new year marks another without my mom, my dad, and other beloved friends I have lost. Each new year reminds me that I am moving forward, while they are not. 

This realization hit me hardest the first year after my mother’s death. Age eighteen, I remember sinking to the floor of a back hallway in a nightclub where I was ringing in the new year with my boyfriend. My legs literally buckled with the thought of entering into a year in which my mother had not lived. And while my grief is no longer as visceral as it was then, I always find myself reflective in the new year.

In recent past I’ve taken to committing to two things in order to both honor and heal my grief. I commit to better self-care (an obvious one, I know, but one that does get neglected when we are grieving) and I also commit to finding new ways to connect with and memorialize my lost loved ones. I choose ways to volunteer or create in their honor, I write them letters, and I put up fresh photos or find a piece of my mother’s jewelry to wear.

Most importantly, I let it be okay that I still carry sadness. I let it be okay that my life has been forever changed by these losses. We cannot make strides, nor heal or grow, if we do not first accept the very place from which we are desiring those things. Let it be okay that you are not over your loss. Remember that two things can be true at once: you can forever hold sadness over your loss, and you can also work to create a meaningful life for yourself. 

Big love in the new year,

Claire