New year thinking


It’s here….. Like it or not, the clock slipped us round into 2015 and a new year lies before us, bright and shiny with promise like a newly minted coin (perhaps)… though are we ever really ready for whatever triumphs and disasters the world has in store?

The last time the year’s date had a number five in it was 2005, the year James died. I cannot forget the turn of that year into 2006. Part of me did not want to relinquish the last year in which my son lived. Instead of saying, ‘he died this year’, I would have to start saying, ‘he died last year’, which only served to emphasis the finality of our loss.

The expression ‘that’s so last year’ indicates that something has passed, that it has already begun to fade into obscurity, and no bereaved person ever wants to feel like that.

Only yesterday, my friend Karen wrote of her feelings at new year; she too lost a beloved son in 2005 and told me how in the early years, when writing the date she had to constantly think of the right year, as she always wanted to default to 2005. I totally get that.

And now, time takes us towards the July anniversary that will mark a decade of living with the loss of James.

I am so grateful not to be subsumed by grief.

Grief for James no longer defines my waking moments, it does not overshadow my life to the extent that I cannot live meaningfully and happily with the remainder of my family and friends. My grief is calm and quiet these days (though not always!)

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is to treat myself with grace, to go gently and allow my emotions not to get the better of me, but to help to make me live better.

I have learned to buff off the sharp edges of my expectations when I need to. A system of chore and reward has always worked for me. If I clean the kitchen, then I can write for an hour…. Figuratively speaking that is how I work with my emotions. Analogies for this are difficult to express, but perhaps along the lines of ….Open the box of the dark side of grief; sit with it, hold it, talk with it, mourn it, put it away again ….. and the reward is to come back into the light. Make myself a cuppa and eat a cake, hell, eat two cakes! I deserve them.

So here is my resolution for 2015…. rather than dwelling on the decade of life that I can (ungrammatically) call James’ un-lived time, instead I shall hold dear and treasure the memories of the 19 years that he lived.  Then I will square my shoulders, breathe deeply and step forward into the unknown that marks ten years of living this new normal life.

Welcome, 2015!



11 thoughts on “New year thinking

  1. Gaynor Andresen

    Hi Andrea , My name is Gaynor Andresen.I lost my only child , Kevin , on May 4th 2013. An accident. Last Saturday , I broke down in work – customers asking if I had a wonderful , magical special Christmas. I DID NOT. I said this to my customer who then said ” you miserable bitch , I won’t come to you again. ” This devastated me THEN , I read your article. You saved me. SOMEONE FULLY UNDERSTANDS. I cannot thank you enough and will follow your blog. I sincerely hope you don’t mind my writing to you ? My thoughts are , and always will be , with you. Bless you. 🙂 Xx


    1. Andrea Corrie Post author

      Thank you so much Gaynor for your comments. I am very sorry for your loss and for the thoughtless response to what you said.. people truly do not understand and it hurts. Take care. x

  2. debbieoneill1

    Thank you Andrea. Your words resonate with me deeply. My beautiful daughter Laura died in 2006 aged 19. Entering another new year with out her is still difficult, after all this time but I will try to square my shoulders and walk forward carrying her with me all the while. X

  3. Linda Sewell

    Another thoughtful and truthful piece of writing Andrea, thank you for articulating it so well. Linda x

  4. Anna Lubelska

    Dear Andrea, thank you so much for your article in the Daily Mail.

    I lost my beloved daughter Debbie 5 years ago (her suicide) and have had many of the thoughts and emotions that you have had as a grieving parent.

    I would like to recommend that you watch the Griefwalker film…just Google it. I have found it very helpful to think about death in a different way from the way that we usually do. It’s a beautiful film – 70 minutes long. Watch it in the evening when the house is quiet.

    I feel honoured to have been able to organise my daughter’s funeral and then two years later a memorial service. Everyone’s children die. All of them! It’s just that most people prefer not to think about that and hope they will die before their children do.

    With love, Anna

  5. Linda O'Leary

    Dear Andrea, My name is Linda O’Leary (no relation to Angela O’Leary who I notice has commented) I too read your article in the Daily Mail and am greatly comforted to know that I am not alone or mad in dreading when somebody asks me how many children I have. I lost my beloved youngest son Daniel on 29 January 2004, he was 26 years old, 6 ft 4 ins blond and handsome and he took his own life after an argument with his girlfriend. I noticed that your son James died on the 27 July 2005, which was Daniel’s birthday, I remember telling him that awful January in 2004 that as he would be 27 on the 27th then 2004 would be his lucky year! I too didn’t want 2004 to end as then I would have to say that Daniel died ‘last year’, sounds silly now but I now realise it’s part of grieving for him and I am not going mad. So many things you have written about resonate with me and that is such a comfort. Thank you for your lovely words and poems, I write a poem for Daniel each birthday and on his anniversary. I have two older children and grandchildren and I thank God for them all but we miss Daniel so much. We will have a Mass for Daniel on his anniversary on 29 January and I will light a candle for you and your beloved son James.

    1. Andrea Corrie Post author

      Hello Linda, thank you so much for your very kind message. I am sorry for the loss of your son Daniel. I am very touched that you will light a candle for us on 29 January. The kindness
      of strangers when I write always amazes me …. I guess we are not all strangers when we have this type of loss in common, as there is already a shared understanding, but it is
      very uplfiting to have such support. Thank you and take care xx

    2. Anna Lubelska

      Dear Linda

      That’s very very sad. I sympathise so much with you and your family. Suicide is such a difficult thing to cope with – having experienced by daughter’s suicide I can only say that i understand. With much love to you and your family. Anna

      1. Linda O'Leary

        Dear Andrea and Anna, thank you so very much for your kind replies, they really do mean so much and of course, sadly, I know that you both understand completely. Anna, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved daughter Debbie and will remember her in my prayers too. I truly believe that our beloved children are only a breath away, just one step ahead of us.

        Kind regards,

        Linda x

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