Jane, our Counselling and Bereavement Services Manager, blogs on facing the New Year when you’re bereaved.
“I can imagine as Christmas was on the wain and with the New Year approaching that many people in the midst of grief didn’t quite know what to do with themselves. To go to that drinks party and put on a brave face…feeling alone and isolated? Or to stay at home and go to bed at 9.00pm and ignore the fact that everyone else across the world was celebrating the New Year in.
What I am aware of, through the stories many bereaved people have shared with me over the years, is that moving from the old year into the new is a huge psychological step. Some people do not want to leave 2017 behind…it feels like being in the New Year of 2018 is taking them further away from their loved one.
Others dreaded having to say ‘my wife died last year’ in case it sounded like her loss was less or being minimalised, whilst instead the pain felt as big and intense as it did on the 31 December 2017! Another person told me that in spite of the warmth and care of his friends and family…he felt an intense pain of separation in his chest as midnight struck…a new year and one to be lived without his partner.
While people have told me how impossible it is to ‘live through and into a new year’ I also marvel at peoples courage and determination to find a way towards a life without their dear one. I have heard people say that they do not feel brave or courageous…that they have no choice. It is true that they have no choice however people do somehow find a way to get through each day, step by step and the same is true of a new year.
It may not be welcome, and the wind is cold and the days are short however I have also seen people grow in the knowledge and experience that they did manage to go to that party and it was hard and tough but they did it…and going to bed at 9.00pm really helped ease the passage into the New Year because it felt too much to witness it.
These small steps are like the small buds on the bare trees…in time they will grow and new leaves will appear. It is hard to hold the hope and possibility that one day you will smile and remember your loved one however the new year does hold this hope for everyone. And we are Martlets wish everyone one a healthy and hopeful 2018.’