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Whoopie! Welcoming a New Year With Out My Loved One

by Chaplain Julia Rajtar, MAPS, BCC


People around us move forward in life as if nothing is different, yet for us, everything is different. Everything has changed with the death of our loved one, even us.  As much as I wanted the world to stand still while I was grieving, I discovered that it didn’t, like time, it kept moving forward, as I had to also, with my grief. Thinking about a new year without that special person in it, is heartbreaking and can cause us to want to curl up and hide from the new year.


Welcoming a new year can be difficult for various reasons.  It could be our first section in time that our special someone is not physically present with us.  We may be flooded with memories of new years past.  It is natural for us to escape the past year as we enter the hope and promise of the new year. We also experience some joy and hope in the midst of tears and sadness, both at the same time.


Ideas for Taking Care of Yourself In the New Year

Here are some ideas on ways to take care of yourself in the new year. Remember, it is ok to not be ok.  It is normal to feel withdrawn, sad, angry, exhausted or want the new year to pass without notice. And it is natural to be tired, anxious or lonely from isolating due to covid.


In a recent Grief Watch article Widow Resolutions: The Four Gs, Kerry Phillips offers the Four G’s as a way to manage the new year’s resolutions for widows and anyone, Grace, Guilt, Grief, Growth.  For more on this article go to,


The book Tear Soup, by Pat Schwiebert and Chuck Deklyen, offers a recipe for making tear soup, blending different ingredients into your own grief journey. Creating tear soup can bring the bereaved comfort and ultimately help fill the void in life that was created by the loss.  The book offers “cooking tips” to use in dealing with grief if you are:  the cook, if your friend is the cook, soup making and time, if a child is the cook, if you are a male chef, if there are two of you cooking.  It is a great table top book for adults and one to also share with children.  You can also find YouTube versions of the story.


Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT, offers guidance on mindfulness and meditation in the new year. She provides some ideas with her Grief in the New Year: 5 Mindful Tips to Cope article on her web site,  Heather shares that New Year’s doesn’t pass without thinking of or yearning for the person who died and it is normal not to know what to do.  We are encouraged to take a collective breath, in and out, to honor all those who are missing someone.  She then offers the five tips to cope with grief in the new year, which you can find at:


A New Year With Out My Loved One

Renew your resources for living.  The death of someone we love creates an opportunity to take stock of life, past, present and future.  Take some time to consider what gives you meaning and purpose in life, and then invest some time and energy pursing that. It is possible to look forward, to live a rich and joyful life, to be happy and remember, while grieving.


What has helped you welcome the new year as you grieve the year without your loved one? Share in the comments below or join an upcoming grief group.


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