New Year, Same Grief

New year, same shit; new year, same grief.

Happy f*%#ing new year. Pardon my swearing and bitterness. But maybe you’re right there with me, especially with everything going on in the world right now. And you may really get it if you’re in acute grief, (grief that is brand new or up to 3 years). And while everyone around you is ready to celebrate the end of the year, you might not even be aware that it is New Years. And that is totally okay. I also want to remind you that studies show swearing helps to relieve stress. I give you permission to say f*#k as many times as you need to.

It seems the only time Western culture embraces an ending is on New Year’s Eve. Am I Right? All the parties and hoopla about the turning of the Gregorian calendar…

When I was in my acute grief phase back in 2012, I didn’t feel like celebrating at all. This was back when my partner Michael was still in the rehab hospital recovering from a spinal cord injury. The staff moved us to the apartment adjacent to the hospital and we had to do all of his care without them. We were being tested to see if we really could take care of him. It was a very stressful time. I wasn’t celebrating, and I was swearing a lot.


However, I will never forget that New Year’s Eve. Instead of putting on my party dress and going out, I was putting on latex gloves to do his bowel program on my own for the first time. I wrote about this in my new book-Life Upside Down. Check out the link here if you’d like to read the entire story which has been called a romance that reads like a thriller and an unofficial guide book to grief.

I cried knowing that this was definitely not the way I wanted to celebrate the New Year-with my finger up his ass for a very specific reason.

That is when I started a new relationship to New Years. New year, same shit. No pun intended there. Ha ha, as I was literally dealing with his shit.

All this to say that celebrating at this time of year is really hard if we’re in acute grief. And it can be hard even if we are a few years out from our loss. Recently I heard a client say, “Yep, another year without my loved one…”

The thing is grief remains regardless of what year it is. I wish it was a simple as turning the calendar to January 2024 to have an entirely new shiny year to look forward to. The calendar is shiny and new, but our grief is not.


So what do we do then? Well, if you’re truly in the acute grief period, focus on taking really good care of your body-try to get enough sleep, eat simple pure foods, get some gentle movement or exercise, and spend more time in nature if you can.

I have offered questions for a grief review of 2023 below. You may or may not be ready to do this. And that’s okay. Come back to it when you feel more spacious. 

This time of year from the Winter Solstice to January 6th is a time where nature calls us to go inward as we are in the darkest time of year in the northern hemisphere. It’s a great time to be curious about your grief and your inner process. It’s a grief harvest.


Here are the questions to ponder on a long walk, or you may write them down in your journal. Or perhaps you want to call a grief buddy to talk about these questions. If you don’t have a grief buddy, reach out to me for a session. Take your time with these, there is no rush. Just notice your thoughts and emotions as you contemplate them.

  • Where did you first feel your grief the strongest? Your heart, emotions, mind or body?
  • How did your grief move within you?
  • Did it feel stuck for a while? Why? What happened or didn’t happen?
  • What helped you keep your grief moving? What didn’t help you?
  • What was the main emotion you felt?
  • What was your biggest grief burst? How did you honor it and recover from it?
  • Did you have any a-ha moments where your grief taught you something? Did you honor it and thank it?
  • Did you find that even though your heart was broken, it felt as if there was room to hold more love?
  • Was your grief expanded by the sorrows of the world?
  • Were you able to feel the pain of the world AND keep your heart open to the beauty around you?
  • How did your grief inspire you to keep going and keep learning, loving and being human?
  • How is your relationship to Spirit or a higher power at this point?
  • Was there anything that surprised you about your grief?
  • What are you taking with you into the new year in regards to your grief process?
  • What does your grief need from you in 2024?
  • What habits are you leaving behind regarding your grief?
  • Has your grief inspired you to change yourself or the world in some way?


These questions are coming from something new I am creating. I am excited and I’ll be unveiling this in the Spring of 2024. It doesn’t have an official title yet, but it is a sort of grief map or tool to help you understand all the layers from your grief and learn from it.


Be well dear ones, especially as we wind down on 2023. Many blessings to you during these dark times. As I write this we have just passed the actual solstice where the sun is standing still and then the light gradually returns to us.


As a griever it is so important to remember the light does indeed return and eventually we can look forward to the melting of the ice around our hearts. The renewal of spring will return, it always does.