The first day of a New Year, a new chapter and a new beginning. At least that’s how I like to look at it now. In the past I have struggled at this time of year as it always reminds me of my New Years as a child spent with my grandparents. They are no longer here and have been gone for many years and I still miss them.
This makes me wonder how other people manage loss during holidays and celebrations and how long does the grief process go on for? Someone once told me that the level of grief is proportionally related to the connection you had with the person or thing that’s gone. I have lost many people over the years. Friends, grandparents, a brother and the grief has been different in each case.
The loss can feel overwhelming and isn’t just about losing people. It can be the loss of a pet, a job, a home or because of a divorce. We can grieve about the life we expected to have that has now been lost.
I have tried to be strong each time I have been confronted with loss, but did this help or hinder me? Having a stiff upper lip just means that the grief will usually show in other ways, maybe through withdrawal, depression, anger, anxiety ….
Because I didn’t really deal with my losses as they occurred, I suffered compound cumulative trauma (an event which happens again and again over a period of time). The losses eventually triggered severe anxiety (I will talk about this later) and this went on for many years.
Some cultures embrace loss/grief and teach us that it is a part of life and there is no need to deny the pain and sadness that the loss causes. I completely agree with this now, although I probably would have disagreed in the past. I think going through loss and hiding the pain and sadness did me more harm than good.
So, whatever you may be feeling after a loss it is probably normal. You will be hurting, feel guilty, be angry or want to hide away. Talk to people or just be with people, family, friends. If you are hurting tell someone, if you need to talk, talk to someone and if you need support at work, at home, at school, then tell a supervisor, friend or teacher. There are always people who will listen.
When I started this post, I thought it would be full of positive words for the year ahead, and I’ve talked about loss. I’ve talked about what I’ve been thinking, and I guess that’s part of my journey.
Happy New Year xx