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Don’t Say “Happy New Year” after a Death

Don’t Say “Happy New Year” After A Death

Chris, Hannah and Harry

Hannah Springford was seven when her father Chris died. Now 22, she shares her thoughts about supporting families who are grieving, as we move into 2021.

Grief and New Year 

For many of us, the onset of 2021 will bring complicated emotions. It has been an unprecedented year, one nobody could have predicted 12 months ago.  But for young people and families, who have lost loved ones, the devastation of bereavement adds another layer to their distress. 

Fireworks and resolutions will be the last thing on a grieving person’s mind. The arrival of a new year is a stark reminder of the passing of time. No matter how long ago the loss for those grieving, the prospect of facing a new year without their loved one can be daunting, and scary. 

If you know someone grieving

If you know someone who is struggling with grief this New Year’s, a simple way to let them know you are thinking of them is to reach out. It is important not to sugar-coat the year that is to come. Messages that acknowledge grief and hardship may be more appreciated than “have a happy new year!” 

Some helpful things might be about; remembering the person who died, sharing memories and acknowledging that this is a difficult time, whilst offering support. 

If you are hosting a zoom party, don’t not invite someone because they are grieving, and you think it may upset them more. Whilst the intent comes from a good place, for some this is another reminder of what grieving people are missing out on. Keep inviting them, even if they say no: let them be the judge of their emotions, and what they want to do.

If you are grieving

Be kind to yourself. It might help this year to take the pressure off yourself. You don’t need to set New Year’s resolutions or deep clean your home, or even stay up until midnight. If it helps to treat new year’s day as any other day, that’s okay.

Remember that there is help and support out there for you. 


by Hannah Springford

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