Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future: New Year’s Reflections on Grief

It’s easy to get caught up in New Year’s resolutions. The expectations of “new year, new me!” or “this year will be different,” and even, “this year I will…”. One on hand, resolutions can be a great kick-start to something we’ve wanted to change or implement. On the other hand, not achieving these eye-in-the-sky goals can leave us feeling disappointed or as though we failed (which is completely normal in the human experience).

In light of the new year and wanting to honor those experiencing grief during this time, we’ve collected a few Grief Resolutions, and we hope that this list is helpful in thinking about how you might approach your grief in the new year.

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to feel grief or to mourn your loved one. The best way is the way that works for you. We are here to help along the way.

  1. Speak your loved one’s name.
  2. Start a project memorializing or in memory of your loved one.
  3. Support someone else through their own grief journey.
  4. Seek professional help (let us know if we can assist).
  5. Embrace the hopes and values of your loved one.
  6. Be open to happiness and laughter.
  7. Let go of guilt by finding ways to work through it.
  8. Archive old photos in an album or online to share with others.
  9. Read a book about grief and loss (we can recommend some good titles).
  10. Sign up to attend a support group (see our list on the following page).
  11. Take more walks.
  12. Spend time outside.
  13. Try a new hobby: journaling, photography, cooking, hiking, or knitting.
  14. Try yoga.
  15. Spend more time with family or friends.
  16. Volunteer your time (check out volunteertricities.org)
  17. Laugh at yourself.
  18. Learn more about grief.
  19. Speak up about your grief experience; others may learn from you!
  20. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (we are here for you).
  21. Work on letting go of shame related to your grief.
  22. Work on not comparing your grief journey to that of others.
  23. Recognize your strengths and what you’ve learned during this time.
  24. Do something that you’ve been putting off.
  25. Read old letters and look at photos to remember your loved one.
  26. Check out Five Wishes (we present on it every Third Thursday of each month) and create your estate plan.
  27. Set aside thirty minutes each day just for you.
  28. If you have a pet, set aside time to play or interact with it each day.
  29. Spend time with others impacted by the death of your loved one.
  30. Be kind to yourself.
Supporting Grieving Children: Age-Appropriate Tips for Compassionate Guidance

Losing a loved one is an inevitable part of life, and helping a grieving child navigate through this difficult time requires a thoughtful and age-appropriate approach. Children of different ages comprehend and cope with grief in unique ways. Here are some tips to guide you in supporting grieving children broken down by age groups.

Preschool Age (3-5 years):

Use Simple Language: Speak in straightforward terms using simple language. Preschoolers may not fully understand the concept of death, so avoid abstract or complex explanations. Reassure Stability: Maintain a consistent routine and environment. Preschoolers thrive on predictability, and stability can provide a sense of security during this uncertain time. Express Emotions through Play: Children at this age often communicate through play. Provide them with toys and art supplies to express their feelings. They may not have the words to articulate their emotions verbally. Encourage Expression: Be patient and understanding as they express their emotions. Allow them to ask questions and share their feelings through drawings or stories.

Elementary School Age (6-12 years):

Be Honest and Age-Appropriate: Provide truthful information about death using language appropriate for their age. Answer questions honestly, but avoid overwhelming details. Create a Memory Box: Help the child create a memory box filled with mementos and pictures of the loved one. This tangible reminder can be comforting and serve as a way to cherish memories. Involve Them in Rituals: Allow the child to participate in funeral or memorial rituals if they are comfortable, but do not force them. Involvement can provide a sense of closure and help them understand the finality of death.

Adolescence (13-18 years):

Respect Independence: Acknowledge their desire for independence and self-expression. Grieving teens may need space but also appreciate knowing you are available when they are ready to talk. Offer Options for Support: Provide information about different support options, such as counseling or support groups. Teens may prefer seeking guidance from someone outside the immediate family. Encourage Artistic Expression: Adolescents often find solace in artistic expression. Encourage them to channel their emotions through music, writing, or visual arts as a form of therapeutic release. Maintain Open Communication: Foster open and honest communication. Be a supportive listener without judgment, allowing them to share their thoughts and feelings without fear of criticism.

General Tips for All Ages:

Model Healthy Grieving: Children learn by observing. Demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms and express your own emotions, providing a positive example for them to follow. Involve them in discussions about the person who died. Validate Their Feelings: Acknowledge and validate the child’s feelings. Let them know it is okay to feel a range of emotions, and there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If an adult’s or child’s grief becomes overwhelming or persistent, consider seeking professional help. Grief counselors or therapists can provide additional support and guidance. Remember that grief is a unique and individual experience. Tailoring your approach based on the child’s age and individual needs can help provide the necessary support during this challenging time.