Setting intentions for the New Year ’s intentions are all around at this time of the year. For many of us, bereaved parents, the holidays and New Year’s celebration with its ‘merry’ and ‘happy’ wishes can lead us to slide down and get lost in another grief rabbit-hole. We are left with the sentiment that nothing that the New Year brings can make the feelings of loss any better.
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Surviving the Holidays
The good news:
Welcome on the other side. Take a breath. You survived the holidays.
As much as I love part of the holiday spirit, I often encounter myself in a quiet, unsociable mood and end up spending – at least some part of it – by myself. This is how I re-energize and re-calibrate for whatever newness might come with the New Year.
For the New Year, I asked the community of the Grieving Parents Support Network to share their intentions, relating to their grief. Here is what they said:
- I spent the last year encumbered by grief, but unable to process. The loss of one twin and the survival of another have kept me in a state of limbo between that grief and the happiness being a first-time mom evokes. I have felt guilty for enjoying certain moments without Benji, just as much as I have felt guilty not enjoying others with his brother.
My intention for 2018 is to process and get to a point where that guilt isn’t there, in either direction.
- I am creating a bucket list, it reiterates the last line of the poem “to live in a way that would make you proud” in memory of Sam 7/5/2015
- I promise to hold onto hope even when I feel blind.
- My New Year’s intentions are to keep Charlotte’s memory alive, to celebrate her birthday (15) and the day she gained her wings (28), to share pictures and videos of her that people haven’t seen on the 15th and 28th of each month, and to organize something for friends and family to participate in to remember Baby Charlotte.
Or it can be as simple as: “I intend to take one day at a time.”
Intentions don’t have to be hard and fast rules or goals as you would set them in a business plan. Whatever your intentions are, think about them as guiding principles that will lead you through the year.
Grieving in healthy ways, for me, means not to look for ways ‘to get over it’ or ‘through it’ as a way to get it done. It is about finding ways to be curious about what is stirring in my heart. Integrating not just the memory, but my ever-unfolding experience into my life. In this light, dear healthy grieved, here some New Year Review Questions for you:
- What have you learned about yourself and grief/grieving?
- What has changed since the loss of your child? Hint: make it specific. Look both for negative and positive things (for example I no longer take life for granted.)
- What are you ready to let go?
- How do you want to be with your grief in the New Year?
What do you want to bring forward into this New Year?
Setting an intention can be powerful. Author Lynn McTaggart* has found that for something to occur it is 300,000 times more likely when one has set an intention.
You can check out mine on the GPSNetwork blog and take whichever you like.
* References can be found in the books by Lynn McTaggart: The Field and The Intention Experiment
This article was first published January 3, 2018 in Still Standing Magazine.