Happy New Year! What is a new year? What is new about it? It is new in the sense of the calendar; but in a very real sense it is just a continuation of the past year. In our lives, we may start a new year of life; but it is not a new life, just a continuation of the current life. Yet, the new year will bring new things into our life. Our life will be different than it was; so in that sense it will be new.
Everything does not start over with the start of a new year. We bring the same problems, the same memories, the same hurts and pains as our journey continues in a new year.
What does this mean to a grieving parent? We can’t disconnect ourselves from the past. We can’t just put all the hurts and painful experiences behind us and only carry with us the joys into the new year. Life cannot be separated so easily.
When we have experienced the loss of a child we don’t want to forget our child. We would like to keep the precious memories and forget the painful ones; but that is not so easily done, nor is it necessarily the healthy thing to do. We don’t need to focus on the painful memories; but the depth of the pain we feel in the loss of a child also reflects the depth of the love for our child. In another blog I wrote that I wished my daughter had not died; but since she had, I was glad the pain of her loss was so great inside me because it reflected the strong love I shared with my precious daughter.
Life will never be the same as it was in the past. The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said, “You can’t step into the same river twice.” Life goes on. That can be a great challenge to a grieving parent. How do I go on without my child? The sense of loss can be overwhelming, especially in the early days, weeks and months of our grief.
In this new year, as we grieve the loss of our child, we will also remember and be grateful for the blessings and joys of the past. We will live each day as a gift from God and focus on those who are still part of our lives. We will not take for granted the time we have with our loved ones, and we will not forget our deceased child. With God’s help and support of family and friends we can and will do both.
My prayer is that you will experience God’s comfort and strength for each new day in this new year.