New York City's Times Square. Confetti is falling, horns are blaring, and people are cheering, as the countdown to the start of another year begins: "Five. Four. Three. Two. One. HAPPY NEW YEAR!" The big glittering ball drops 2017 to its resting place in history as strains of "Auld Lang Syne" (translated to mean "Days of Long Ago") are heard throughout the crowd. But in your heart, there are no cheers, no confetti, and no singing. Your loved one died and you feel as if the "ball" landed on your chest, taking away your breath.
What can you do to find the courage for a new year, to face each day with assurance? This January will mark the anniversary of the passing of my maternal grandmother—the biggest influence in my life. During my first year without her, I searched for a way to encourage myself. I recalled the goodness she embodied and her faith in God. Each evening, she thanked Him for the blessings of that day and requested strength for the next day.
Taking a notepad and a pen, I jotted down a few blessings from my day. Wanting to keep them in mind, I saw a small gift box on the dresser, beside Grandma's picture. I folded the paper and deposited it into the box. On the bottom of the box, I wrote "Grandma's Gifts" and ceremoniously placed the box beside her picture. Each week, I added new blessings and reread the older ones. Before long, the year took on new meaning. I saw this exercise as a way to "talk" with Grandma and to remind myself that God is good and that life can be, too.
I still miss her as much today as I did on that chilly afternoon. But I have "Grandma's Gifts" to keep me warm.
—Fonda Younger, Bereavement Assistant & Voices Choir Leader
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Tags: Grief Support