Transitioning into the New Year: A Family Guide to Grieving with Intention

Lesley Glenner

Any human’s journey through the passage of time can be seen as “fellow travelling.” While we each travel through life –from birth to death — ultimately on our own, we also meet and depend on others walking their paths. Fellow traveling is a useful frame for understanding where we are in space and time, why we’re here now, and what we could or should be doing or feeling as we move through life. Whatever else is going on, we can strive to, above all, witness each other as fellow travelers. 

Together, we walk through the earthly experiences of our daily lives. Part of witnessing ourselves and each other is noticing and accepting the multifaceted truth of our lives — we feel joy and hardship, triumph and strife, and more.  

While we’re likely looking forward to what 2021 could bring, we can also learn to linger in the pause. The current moment. We’re currently existing in an interim space between wounding and wellness. Even as daily life appears to be heading toward healing, we are still wounded, and we are seeking ways to heal, grow, and adapt to life as it is, right now.  Many of your fellow travellers are hurting deeply. Perhaps you are, too. 

We have all experienced some unprecedented hardships this year. There has been wide-scale loss. People we know have died. We’ve had to take a closer look at what is going on at the familial level and in our relationships. What we’ve seen could haunt us for a long time, if we do not metabolize the accompanying emotions deeply.    

Grieving what we’ve lost 

Moving into 2021, it’s ok to feel all the feelings. We owe ourselves the time–more time–to grieve what we’ve lost this year. To remember loved ones who are no longer with us, to recognize how our daily landscapes have changed, to accept that “the before time” is gone, and life will never be exactly the same again. We have changed.   

Anyone who knows me understands my deep regard for the feeling of melancholy. I’m a huge advocate of the slow, clean-burning cry. Feeling the pent-up frustrations and releasing them. Again and again. This is the healing path.  

It’s easy to blame the year “2020.” and write it off as “a dumpster fire.” Good riddance, right? But the events of this year happened. The calendar change can’t and won’t make those felt experiences go away. We did live and travel through this time. Processing it will take time as well. There is no way around… only through. If we learn to do this together in community, we will be stronger for it.  

Noticing the good 

There was good in 2020. There were moments of intimacy, grace, humanity. There were times we could really see ourselves, and not the surface self we want to see, but our depths. Perhaps we let people into this world as well. We could see more of one another. We accepted a wider range of emotion to be shown in work and business and parenting. The shift to work-from-home and school-from-home likely showed us more about our own and our fellow travellers’  family and home lives. 

Rather than simply picking up the old masks we put on to head toward the outside world, we can hold the intention to live life more wholly moving forward.  

Attuning to nuances

As we move forward in time, the consciously aware among us can facilitate greater bonds of attachment. This coming time is challenging us to greater attunement and awareness — that means recognizing where we are, and where others are, at any given moment. 

Some families have been brought together during this time, while others letting go of past facades. Some have had the opportunity to strengthen bonds of relationship, while others felt relationships slip away. COVID-19 served as a great accelerator. Existing relationship trajectories seemed to speed up, to be addressed or to fall apart. 

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, which holds promise of becoming an era of greater attunement if we allow ourselves the space for that. 

Resilience is another important theme. Resilience does not mean going it alone or striving to “pass” as healthy if you’re feeling down or low. It means accessing community support and mental health services as needed. It means honoring everything inside of you, and seeing things as they really are, at any given moment. 

 

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If you want to integrate any of these ideas as part of a year long program with your fellow travelers…. see the Fulfilled Family Fellowship.

 

Lesley’s Longmont private therapy practice is centered on conscious parenting.

The greatest dedication in my life is to my child, Jude, who enters kindergarten this year. Additionally, after 8 years in private practice seeing both couples and individuals struggle with wounds from their own parenting and issues around raising their own children, I’ve found that helping clients to parent in a more conscious and securely attached manner absolutely lights me up. Following the thread of what is most alive in my personal and professional lives helped me crystalize the idea to introduce conscious parenting as the focus of my practice. ~ Lesley Glenner

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