With the year end approaching, grievers are reminded that relationships don’t have to end when the physical ends, or at any particular point in time. The memories of those dear to us don’t have to be relegated to the margins or packed away promptly like Christmas decorations with the close of the calendar year. And while the new year signals a fresh start for many, it also heralds new opportunities for grievers to actively keep their late loved ones in the “front row”. From that place, their essence can continue to participate in life and encourage those left behind to live a life of fullness.
If you are grieving, you might choose to hold meaningful space for your grief in the new year by:
- Resolving to take your loved ones with you into the new year, and every day after that.
- Holding onto memories of your loved one, each a separate thread connected to your life shared together. You can jumble the memory threads up into a ball, to prevent getting tangled in the past too often. But you can still pull out a single string whenever you want to remember.
- Talking to other people about a loved one who has passed. Telling someone who never knew them about the type of person they were. Asking those who knew them to share their own stories with you.
- Singing the songs that special person used to sing. Watching the movies they loved. Saying the phrases they used to say, and after making sure to tell someone nearby, “they always used to say that”.
- Imagining what they would be like if they were still alive today. What would they say if you could talk about kids, relationships, religion and politics? Wondering whether you would agree with their opinion, but when it comes time to make an important decision, knowing you’d always take the advice you imagine they’d give.
- Playing both parts of the relationship because they cannot speak for themselves, and accepting this one-sided, unrequited love because that’s all there is. Being happy with what you have left of them but feeling sad for what you’ve lost. Accepting that the grief loop will play on repeat for sometime, but that you’ll be alright with that.
- Resolving to do these things this year, just as you may have every year since your grief began. Not apologising or feeling foolish for doing any of it because there is no right or wrong way to love and honour the memory of someone who’s died.
A Special Kind of Resolution
Losing someone can be tragic, and in some cases feels unnatural. It is natural however to want to keep that person close to us: to want to make them proud, to want to make the world better in their name and to want other people to know who they were and to love them. These are all powerful and beautiful instincts that grievers should embrace as they enter a new year; deepening and expanding their hearts, world view and community in the process.