Make a New Year Resolution … to spend more time with someone who has passed…

Posted on December 28, 2023 by Rev. Pam Reidy under grief, loss, mourning, Inspiration
1 Comment

Recently, an ad for a popular celebrity magazine flashed across my computer screen, speeding through pictures of famous people who died in 2023. It was meant to grab my attention with an expectation of my purchasing a subscription, however I was appalled by the use of a celebrity’s death to sell a magazine. I was equally upset at how hastily one image moved to the next– mirroring our cultural tendency to move on soon after a death. Nevertheless, the flashing images prompted me to pause, remember, and be grateful for the people I knew who died this year.

As this year passes to the next, it is a good time to uncover the changes that have come with a death. Grief is not simply mourning a loss, lamenting what is no longer. It is embracing the ongoing connection with our deceased loved ones. After death we can no longer rely on the five senses to relate to our loved ones. For most of us, that requires that we discover and exercise an additional sense. For this, we must establish methods and rituals to foster ongoing communication. Here are a few ideas to help keep your deceased loved ones alive into the new year…

  • Create a space for them in your home. This can be as simple as hanging a picture in an honored place or establishing a sacred space made of their personal possessions.
  • Designate a specific day each month as their day. Observe it throughout the coming year. This is a day to remember, reflect and review your ongoing relationship with them. On this day, engage in an activity they enjoyed, visit someone they loved, or write a reflection of your life with them.
  • Celebrate their heavenly birthday with friends and family. This age-old tradition of honoring the anniversary of a death is a healthy grief practice.
  • Keep a journal of your conversations and interactions with them, including signs and reminders they are with you.
  • Take a photograph each month that reflects an attribute or activity of theirs. It could depict a virtue such as generosity or could picture a place they loved like the beach. If they loved their grandchildren, photograph the kids and share the pictures and your thoughts in a journal, or in your mind’s conversation with a deceased one, or over coffee with a friend.

New Year Resolutions typically concentrate on defeating unwanted habits, giving us a fresh start, or establishing a more perfected way. This is also true in death, sometimes we must work to overcome the habits of grief that keep us idle in loss. It is healthy and healing to experience the presence of our loved ones in our everyday life, especially when we believe in an ongoing bond and connection between them and us.

There are so many ways to reflect, remember, and renew our relationship with deceased loved ones. Out with the old, in with the new is a good maxim for turning the calendar and perhaps also for finding renewed hope in our grief. Resolving to work at a new relationship may be a perfect goal for 2024, to that end, I encourage making a New Year Resolution to spend more time with someone who has passed…trusting that love goes on.

“Love is stronger than death even though it can’t stop death from happening, but no matter how hard death tries it can’t separate people from love. It can’t take away our memories either. In the end, life is stronger than death.”   – Unknown

One Response to Make a New Year Resolution … to spend more time with someone who has passed…

  1. Avatar Janice Annunziata says:

    Dear Pam,
    It was a Godwink that you were in my breakout group for our Poetry class tonight.
    Thank you for your service. I’m sure you offer comfort to so many.
    I read your blog about New Year’s resolution and it so resonates. I wrote my short poem tonite looking at a poster sized photo of my beloved.
    Stay well and your joy is infectious.
    God Bless You dear Pam

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