Grief in the New Year: Three Tips For Honoring Loss

For so many people, the start of a new year is full of excitement and freshly set resolutions. But for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one, it can feel like a stark reminder that you are entering a year without their loved one. We have put together a few ways to help you honor your loss in the new year, and to care for your heart and soul during your time of grief. 

Allow yourself to skip the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions can be a fun and exciting way to set the tone at the start of the new year. But nobody, especially not people in their season of grief, should feel pressure to set expectations on themselves. If your grief feels too big this year, consider skipping the tradition of setting new goals and resolutions. Culture puts so much pressure on grieving people, and it can be good and healthy to skip putting extra pressure on yourself right now. If you do feel led to set resolutions during your time of grief, we have put together a list of tips to help you set goals while grieving in an intentional way that honors your loss of a loved one who passed away.

Practice Self Compassion

The start of a new year can feel so painful after the loss of a loved one. For many people, it feels like the calendar’s reminder that you are moving into a new season of life and leaving your loved one behind. The start of 2022 can be excruciating when it’s a reminder that your loved one will never experience what this new year has to offer. 

If you are feeling this way, we want to encourage you to practice self compassion. Going through this type of loss is hard, long, and can bring unexpected emotions. It is normal for your grief to ebb and flow, surprising you with it’s intensity at times, while leaving you strangely less “grief-y” than you might expect. This is all such a normal part of the grieving process. 

While you are processing through your loss, learning self compassion can help. Maybe you are normally a super high energy person, but you are struggling to complete basic life tasks around the home – let yourself off the hook and give yourself permission to rest. Maybe you rarely call out of work, but you are struggling to head back to the office and face your co-workers – give yourself permission to take a sick day to let your heart reset. Maybe you are normally outgoing and love social interactions, but socializing without your loved one sounds like an impossibly difficult task – give yourself the permission to stay home. Maybe you can normally cope with what life has to offer, but you are struggling to keep your head above water – find a trusted friend or professional counselor and share your experience. 

All of these feelings after grief are normal. There is nothing wrong with you. You are just a grieving person dealing with a huge life change. You deserve compassion and support.

Set traditions throughout the year that honor the memory of your loved one

The start of a new year can feel daunting, especially if the loss has recently occurred. While New Year’s resolutions might not be a great fit for you at this time, it can feel really beautiful to come up with special traditions that will help you celebrate your loved one throughout the year. This can be a great time to make a plan for how you would like to acknowledge their birthday, the anniversary of their loss, the holidays without them, and any family traditions that might feel honoring to their life.

If you need ideas for how to honor the birthday of a loved one who has passed away, we have put together a great list of resources on how to honor a loved one on a milestone birthday that can help you formulate a plan. One of our very favorite ways to celebrate the birthday of a deceased loved one is by lighting our Shining Bright Birthday Candle. The candle label can be personalized with the loved one’s name, and this special memorial candle can be lit on their birthday or throughout the year to honor them. It is handmade by our team in house, topped with sprinkles, and scented like a freshly baked vanilla birthday cake. 

We know that honoring your loved one throughout the year is so important, and our collection of heartfelt sympathy gifts are constantly updated throughout the year so you can send a seasonally appropriate sympathy gift to remember your loved one. 

When spring arrives, many families choose to plant a memorial garden in honor of their loved one who passed away. We have a robust collection of memorial garden gifts to help you plant an intentional and special memorial garden – from personalized butterfly seed sets, to wind chimes with bells that will ring their honor, to an outdoor safe garden stone. 


We hope this list of three ways to honor your loss in the new year is helpful! No matter how you choose to honor their life in 2022, we hope you give yourself compassion and space as you process their loss. 


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