Grief Resolutions

As we approach the dawn of a new year, many of us contemplate making resolutions designed to kick bad habits and foster a commitment to good health.

Resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Grief however does not respond well to resolutions. We cannot make a firm decision “to do or not do” grief. The option really isn’t ours.

As humans who form attachments – to other people, animals, jobs, or even certain items, we can’t simply decide to detach our emotional, physical, social and spiritual reactions to these losses.

There are some who attempt to relegate grief to the back of the cupboard, keeping company with the past-dated canned goods. On the surface, it can look like they’ve successfully resolved their grief.

For those of us who have experienced loss, we know full well, that those losses can trigger reactions when we least expect it and that time has little to do with the resolution of grief.

Thanatological scholars have posited many theories about grief. I’m of the belief that we do not resolve grief or the losses we’ve experienced, but instead, we learn to integrate these losses in healthy ways, to create a new normal – whatever normal is.

Creating continuing bonds

We integrate these losses by creating continuing bonds, that re-position our relationship with the deceased. We do this by creating rituals that are meaningful to us, such as visiting the cemetery, wearing a piece of clothing or jewelry that keeps the deceased physically close to us, or by speaking their name and sharing memories of our times together.

Self-care – the essential resolution

As 2019 approaches, let us resolve to help integrate our grief by being kind and patient with ourselves. To take time to check in with our feelings and thoughts, to carve out time just for us to take a walk, meditate or journal. We do not know what the year ahead holds for us, so let us commit to taking care of ourselves.

Please follow and like us: