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Hope for the Holidays

New Year, New Grace, New You

by Marie Slayton

New Year, New Grace, New You

One of the most difficult things about grieving is not the initial blow. The shock of losing someone, the whirlwind of the funeral or the immediate absence of a loved one wears off. The time I spent grieving seemed to creep by, with years spilling into other years. Often, I felt that things would never heal, that there would be no brightness in my life. For all of us, two and three years after the loss, the grief is still there and changes are still being made. Holidays, especially, make us remember good as well as hard things so that this can be a season of sadness and regression or a season filled with renewal. The amazing part of it is that one has the ability to choose to go backward, stay stagnant or move forward.

The following are some simple suggestions to help you move on with your New Year, to find a new sense of grace and perhaps a new you. There are ways to move on with dignity, to give up that person you have lost without anger, and to find a loving way of letting yourself move on. Use this New Year to present yourself with a new way of living!

LITTLE THINGS:

  • BREATHE: Often this is the time when we start learning how to mark the holidays with new traditions. Breathe into the changes. We can rest for a moment of peace to revere her/his memory. We can rest for a moment for ourselves. Take a few deep breaths, especially when feeling overwhelmed. With each breath, bring yourself into the moment and just be.
  • ACKNOWLEDGE: Holidays are never easy, regardless of the emotional state in which we find ourselves. There is no reason, however, that we should spend the holiday season wrapped in sorrow. Acknowledge the loss. However, acknowledge both what you are moving away from and how and where you are going. Allow yourself to move on.
  • MEMORIALIZE: Many changes occur in holiday seasons and throughout a grief journey. Simple, small acts can help to mark the changes, help you to move on, and help you to access emotions and healing. Try incorporating a memorial, even a small one, into some new holiday traditions. Try creating an ornament with a picture, have a date engraved on the bottom of a crystal glass, or perhaps say a special a prayer at a meal. These little things can help you move forward while including your loved in your new holiday traditions.

HOLIDAY SPIRIT:

  • FIND PEACE: Some times, especially when the grief is new and the shock is bold, peace and healing are not the first things that come to mind when we look at our grieving journey. We just want to get through a day or, in this case, the holiday season. Start each day with a simple mantra or phrase. "I am at peace with my grief and with the changes." This will help you to be mindful everyday.
  • BE INVOLVED: There is strength in the grief journey, in gratefully standing up and living vibrantly following a loss. At first, this might not make sense. Over time, because all things take time, our hearts begin to glow again and, suddenly, we see that we have become emotionally stronger, that the years have not weathered us too terribly. We are involved in the healing process and in life. So, start this New Year with a commitment, one day at a time, to be involved with the healing process and with your whole life!
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