Processing Loss in the New Year

By Joe Honsberger, LCSW-C

Losing a loved one is difficult no matter what time of year. However, loss can be particularly difficult after the winter holidays and at the beginning of the new year when emotions are running high. Starting a new year without your loved one brings many challenging thoughts. It will be the first time without them at your birthday, their birthday, annual holidays, milestones, and all the other significant times you shared with them. Though you have enjoyed these events in the past, you suddenly find yourself at a “loss.” What seemed so familiar and wonderful just doesn’t feel the same way.  

This is even more so in our current time of the pandemic. You lose the opportunity to have the rituals of loss we have all come to know that assist and are essential to the grieving process.  However, with that change comes opportunity to create some of your own new ways to process loss in a way that is meaningful to you. 

I would like to share some of the following ideas: 

  1. Create your own memory box out of photos, cards, and other mementos that have importance to you and your relationship with your loved one. You can open this box any time you want. 
  2. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself in whatever way feels good to you.  
  3. Allow yourself to talk about the individual you have lost. Whether it’s bringing them up with those who also knew them or sharing stories with those who did not. 
  4. Join a bereavement group with others that have lost a loved one. Knowing you are not alone will help. 
  5. Seek therapy if you need to process your grief in a deeper way. 

Though we are all different in our ways of grieving, honor your own way no matter what others might tell you or expect of you. 

Management Staff - Jewish Community ServicesJoe Honsberger, LCSW-C is Senior Manager of Therapy Services at Jewish Community Services.

JCS is a comprehensive human services organization providing a broad range of services that meet the diverse, multi-dimensional needs of individuals and families throughout Central Maryland. To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.

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