By Alice J. Wisler
As Dick Clark is about to countdown the hours to a new year, and friends and neighbors are chilling bottles of champagne for midnight toasts, many of us are wondering just what will be so happy about 2012. We recall easier times when we laughed more and enjoyed shouting "Happy New Year!" at the strike of twelve o-clock. We long for days when we had zeal and joy. Now are hearts are broken.
What has broken your heart? Is it the recent death of a loved one? When my four-year-old Daniel died in 1997, I dreaded holidays without him. My family picture was incomplete and I knew that this life I was thrown into without him was how it was going to be from now on.
Heading into your first new year without a loved one can be daunting. You know that this new year will be void of any memories of your special beloved. A new year, yes, but no new antics from your child, mother, or sister. Only recycled memories exist now.
What can you do to get through the ending of an old year when your loved one was with you before his death, and approach another calendar year without him?
Here are twelve suggestions to help with the transition from 2011 into 2012.
1) Bring your loved one into the new year by sharing a happy memory of him with those around you.
2) Speak his name. Again and again.
3) Make a dish in your loved one's memory. If you don't cook, buy a bag of his favorite chips, crackers, or snack food.
4) Think of resolutions for the new year that you want to make for yourself.
5) Consider doing something for someone else at the beginning of the new year, something that symbolizes your loved one's life.
6) Allow yourself tears. Buy a sturdy box of Puffs Tissues.
7) Allow yourself the gift of words. Jot down words that describe your loved one. Create a few lines or a poem about him.
8) Read passages from the Bible or a book that is uplifting and nurtures your soul.
9) Light a candle and keep it burning from the end of the year into the new year.
10) Send a helium balloon into the night sky, a gesture of sending a gift up to Heaven.
11) Know that even though your heart is broken, healing can happen.
12) Look for beauty in each day. Find at least three things to be thankful for. Start with thanksgiving for the love you hold for your deceased loved one. The love is always there, nothing can take it away.