It’s a brand-new year, and many people are choosing their “One Word” to focus on throughout the next 365 days, meanwhile, others are trying to avoid one word, grief. We know grief cannot be ignored so we plan for the pain despite the despair. We live one step, one day, one word at a time.
New Year’s Eve of 2012 I chose my first “One Word” because a resolution seemed like a heavy commitment. I was a newly grieving mother and my only focus was to survive. I had to come up with a survival plan, a plan for the pain of leaving the year-of-my-child behind.
It’s excruciating to say goodbye to the year in which your baby was born and/or died. You want anything but to leave “their year” in the past. They are supposed to be our present, our future, our every day, not our past. You wonder how you can make it through a new year. You wonder how you will survive.
As 2013 commenced and the world said goodbye to 2012 I held on like hell to one word: SURVIVE. I needed to focus on survival because I literally wondered how I would live without my child for an entirely new year, let alone forever. My plan of action became:
1. Eat to survive. 2. Sleep to survive. 3. Drink to survive.
I made it through that first year, and though I was a half-version of myself, emotionally and physically withered, another year was behind me. I had survived.
Survival mode left me feeling emotionless, withdrawn, gray. I was neither living nor non-living and needed to REVIVE in 2014. I was determined to revive that which survived the death of my child, to give life to my living self. I needed to breathe again, to reemerge. I needed to smell again, to see again. My plan was to:
1. Get outside. 2. Get creative. 3. Get a passion.
Slowly and painstakingly I began to come alive again, to revive.
By the end of the year, I had revived enough to tackle another word in 2015, THRIVE. At the time, thrive meant breathing involuntarily, genuinely smiling, breaking down once a month rather than daily. Thriving meant cooking for my children, making myself a plate, getting out of the house, or attending a social event. I was beginning to want more but needed a plan, so I decided to:
1. Set a goal. 2. Work for it. 3. Reach it.
One goal reached turned into another and another and by the beginning of 2016, I knew my word would be ORGANIZE. I bought a Leonie Dawson planner and her Life workbook then carried out my plan to organize my disarray and chose to:
1. Make lists. 2. Set priorities. 3. Stay focused.
The more I became organized and intentional with my time, energy, and hobbies, the more it became apparent that I needed to further SIMPLIFY my life in 2017. I needed to simplify my grief, simplify my life, so this past year I made the decision to:
1. Declutter. 2. Say no. 3. Say yes.
I was able to say no to the unnecessary, say yes to that which added value, and decluttered all aspects of my after-loss life. Finally, after five years of preparation, I feel ready to exercise self-care. This year my word is EXERCISE. I plan to strengthen and utilize my:
1. Mind. 2. Body 3. Emotions
to make it one more step, one more day, one more year through grief.
Photo by Ginny Limer