There’s something about endings that are implied at New Year, and as we look ahead to 2024, we reflect on the past, considering all that has gone before and are encouraged to embrace the new.  We ask ourselves what will we change, do differently and stop altogether.  For those who have experienced the death of someone close, whether during the past year, a few or many years ago, this can be particularly challenging.  It implies that what has gone before needs somehow to improve, or develop or be left behind.  When grieving at this time of year, this  can then inevitably surface a range of mixed emotions associated with intense longing for the person who died, acknowledging their life just exactly as it was, not to be forgotten, nor changed, but something to remember, that is carried forever.

For children and young people who already face the intense developmental task of physical, cognitive and emotional growth, having to tackle the lived experience of the death of someone close, delivers whole new realm of understanding to try to unpick. They are thrust into learning about death and dying, loss and restoration.  Their grief is unique to them and the circumstances they have  had to face, and it is important that we all understand that there are no ‘rules’, not then, nor at any time of the year.

So as we face the New Year, let’s instead reflect on the nature of endings and goodbyes, so often associated with extreme and prolonged sadness, and how they can help shape a positive, even transformative outlook.

Suzy Turner Jones, Grief Encounter CEO, acknowledges the death of Isca Whittenberg, (1923 – 2023), as we approach 2024. Isca’s life was devoted to learning after traumatic loss and bereavement, and talks about how endings have shaped her life. Dying as the longest living psychotherapist, supporting children from infant to adolescents, please listen to her generous and sensitive reflections on the transience nature of life.

Grief Encounter is dedicated to ensuring that no child grieves alone and that all bereaved children and young people can lives with hope and healing. Our helpline is open 9am – 9pm weekdays, on 0808 802 0111.