Happy New Year is a phrase heard so often this time of year, and when we are grieving we can sometimes almost wish the phrase didn’t exist. I remember in 2011 when the new year started, my big thing is I was changing my profile picture on Facebook from one with my mom and I to one of just me. She had died two months before, and I had been paying homage to her as every 19 year old does on Facebook with my favorite picture of us from my high school graduation. I was very adamant that this year was going to be “New year, new me” but I quickly realized that the new year was not going to mean that it was going to be a great year. It was a new year, and I was a new me. I was now a college sophomore trying to figure out how to live on my own and my grief finally hit me.
Right after my mom died, I spent a couple months in Florida with my family while I tried to figure out what my next steps were going to be. Florida had always felt like a second home to me and most of the time when I would go our visits were full of Mickey Mouse and sandy beaches. Although, we didn’t spend that whole two months at Disney World (bummer, I know) I was with the people who knew me inside and out and I was comfortable. I felt like I was on vacation. My grief did not truly hit me until 2011, the new year, when I was back home and now I was on my own. This was the first year of my “annual words” instead of resolutions (for more explanation, you can read my New Year’s Eve blog post) and I was ready to tackle the year head on. But life had another plan. My grief crippled me more than I could have imagined. When I would hear people say “Happy New Year” I would think to myself, “Not for me.” This would be a year of a lot of firsts for me that I did not want. I didn’t want a first birthday without my mom, I didn’t want to have to support myself on my own. I did not want to leave 2010 because that meant leaving her behind. This girl on my “new me” profile picture was smiling and happy, but the shell of a person trying to juggle school, bills, and estate stuff was not.
You may not have wanted this new year to come. Whether it was the first or sixth year without your loved one, you may still be hurting and that’s ok. You are allowed to do what is best for you during this next year. What do you think your word will be?