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Sorrow and Hope – a Map for the New Year

by Julia Rajtar, MAPS, BCC


As much as I wanted the world to stand still while I was grieving, I discovered that it did not. Like time, people kept moving forward while I was hesitant to move at all. Entering a new year without that special person is heartbreaking and can cause us to want to curl up and hide.


Welcoming a new year in grief can be difficult for many reasons. It could be our first time entering the new year without our loved one. Suddenly, everything feels new and unfamiliar.  We may be flooded with memories of years past. We may not be ready to leave parts of us behind in order to pursue the hope and promise of a new year. We may not be ready for joy and hope in the midst of tears and sadness.


Preparing for the New Year in Sorrow

As we prepare for the new year, know that it is okay to not be okay. It is normal to feel withdrawn, sad, and angry, exhausted or wanting the year to pass without notice. It is natural to be tired, anxious or lonely, even as we all continue to live with covid.


Heather Stang, MA, C-IAYT, offers guidance on grief in the new year. She reminds us that a new year doesn’t pass without thinking of or yearning for the person who died and it is normal not to know what to do. Her five tips include focusing on self-compassion, creating your own mantra, knowing you are not leaving your loved one behind, prioritizing your grief and meditating. Read more at manage-grief-in-the-new-year.


The new year is often a time to renew our resources for living. The death of someone we love creates an opportunity to take stock of life – past, present and future. What gives us meaning and purpose in life? Invest time and energy pursuing that. It is possible to look forward – to live a rich and joyful life, to be happy and remember – while holding both sorrow and hope.

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