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By: Mari Dias
Hindsight is 20/20. And so is this new year. It is not
merely a new year but a new decade, and if social media is any indication
people have varying views on this calendar transition. The posts often begin with
hindsight, looking back at the graduations, weddings, births, travels and deaths,
and morph into a hopefulness for the
“Boy, oh boy 2019 kicked me and knocked me down. Hope
2020 treats me better!” (anonymous Facebook user).
“It has been an awesome year! Actually, an awesome
decade! Hope 2020 is equally as awesome!”(anonymous Facebook user).
The memes and giphys reflect empowering, proactive suggestions:
“This is a new chapter. Write a good one.” When we open a Facebook post or an Instagram picture, we are likely
to see fireworks, people celebrating with paper hats and oversized 2020
eyeglasses, kissing the moment the ball drops. Videos show crowds of people
singing Auld Lang Syne. (A song whose history indicates that it’s usually sung
on new year’s and funerals (Scotland.org).
For many, it’s a birth of sorts. A new beginning. But
not for all. Not for the grievers. It may signify the end of something, even if
has been 10 years. Be sensitive. Be kind.
According to the Association of Death Education and
Counseling, “People don’t often think of New Year’s as a grief holiday;
however, for many, it is the first of a
new year in which their loved one does not physically exist…the first true year
they [do] not share in together. It is a genuine challenge. Resolve to be gentle
with one another.”
VITAS Healthcare concurs. “When we are grieving it is
hard enough to live each day as it comes. It can be a daunting task to face a
whole new year stretching out in front of us.” VITAS goes on to express the
potential feelings of the grieving, as they may feel afraid, lost and no longer
busy with caretaking. They proffer the idea that a new year may mean different
things to different grievers. Some may welcome, some may dread, and some may
ignore the new year, depending on where they are in the grief process. “The
question is not whether, but how we’ll work with it.”
VITAS Healthcare concludes their article with tips to
face the new year.
For those of you who make resolutions, resolve to be
kind to those, including yourselves, who are grieving the loss of someone or
something very special.
old acquaintance be forgot
never brought to mind?
old acquaintances be forgot
auld lang syne ( for old times’ sake)”
No. They should always be remembered and celebrated. I
leave you, not with the traditional “Happy” New Year but rather wishing you a
Grateful, Graceful, Hopeful and Peaceful one.
Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a
Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated
She is Professor of Clinical Mental
Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the
director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI. For more
information, go to: http://gracepointegrief.com/