Now that the New Year is here we can all reflect on the year past. For some of us that year was riddled with the pain of losing someone in our lives that we loved. That loss created an enourmous hole in the year that can’t be repaired. The first year after a loss every holiday is a painful reminder of that loss.
My personal experience is just one example of holidays and grief. My oldest brother died a few weeks before Christmas of 1980, my middle brother died on my birthday in 2004, my youngest brother on New Years Eve of 1999, and my stepfather on my wedding anniversary of 1994. There have been other losses ( mother, grandmother, father ) which had nothing to do with any particular holiday but there wasn’t a “holiday reminder” of their date of death. In other words the date they died would go by each year and I would forget the actual date of over time. When you lose someone you love on a holiday or date of celebration it changes that holiday or celebration date forever.
At first I actually thought the holiday date was about me and what I had lost. I now see that that was such a ridiculous, self centered way of thinking. I made of choice of celebrating their lives on the holiday or celebration date they died. I couldn’t change what had happened, and I couldn’t change the date of my birthday, Christmas, New Years, or my anniversary but I could change how I celebrated their memory on those days. I could be grateful for every holiday spent with them and I could be grateful for the opportunity to keep them alive in my heart on those days, and grateful for my own life.
I couldn’t change dates but I could make a choice as to how I honored my love and memory of their lives. Maybe that is why although I have never been a huge fan of New Years Eve but a loyal fan of a New Year. A new year to begin again with memories of their lives not their deaths. A grateful heart for having them as part of my life story.