Note to Jewish grievers: Apples and Honey for A Sweet New Year
Updated: Jan 9
By Jill S. Cohen, NYC family grief counselor
All over the world, Jewish people are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the start of a new year on the Jewish Calendar, with wishes all around for a “happy and sweet new year” -- signified by dipping apples into honey, and greeting one another with “Shana Tova”, the Hebrew words for the greeting “A good year”.
For those in mourning periods or grief-stricken from the recent death of a loved one, it’s hard to imagine a “good year” coming up. However, this time of the year, when the holiday presents the opportunity to wish and hope for a “good year,” it is a great opportunity for those in grief to take a moment to reflect on what “good year” what might look like.
It doesn’t mean that “grief ends” or anything extreme like that. But, it might mean that you…
Adjust to your new normal a little bit more each day
Reframe your sadness by acknowledging beautiful memories
Continue your bonds with your loved ones through thoughts and actions
Focus better at school, work, parenting, and other daily activities
Accept support from your friends, relatives, and neighbors when they offer
Take a vacation for a change of scenery, to renew and reinvigorate yourself
Sleep better at night, with fewer nightmares and anxiety
Return to exercise to lift your spirits and release tension
Name any other things that might mean a “good year” for you
If you take a few moments this holiday season to reflect on this, I think that you might see that the possibility of “a good year” does lie ahead.
Remember, we know that we don’t stop grieving and bury it forever, but we find a new way to incorporate our loved one into our life. We don’t “move on,” but we “move forward”.
And so, I wish anyone for whom this phrase is relevant, a “Shana Tovah” … my wish to you for a “good year” ahead.