Pick a Number: Making it Through a New Year and the Hard Days Ahead

Pick a Number: Making it Through a New Year and the Hard Days Ahead

Pick a number between 1 and 60. Remember it.

For anyone who has recently experienced the death of a family member the idea of a “new” year doesn’t hold the sparkle it once did. Watching a new year open can feel sorrowful as it marks a measured space of time that that loved one will never exist in. It can feel very final and even like a severing of connection.

And now, making your way through a whole year filled with once special anniversaries, birthdays and tricky holidays like Valentine’s can feel very overwhelming.

We naturally think of resolutions when we think of the new year and if you are a grieving person (or just any person!) – you may have found the idea of a resolution particularly empty or meaningless this year.

Instead of a resolution, I stumbled across a beautiful idea from author and poet, Morgan Harper Nichols (MHN). She offered the idea of finding a word to hold throughout the year. It’s simple and available for you to do at anytime at the link here (you do need an Instagram account to see it). MHN curated a beautiful list of words for her followers to select at random by taking a screenshot as her word pictures whizzed by on the screen. I did this and it felt a bit like the word found me – a very sweet sensation and exercise where I couldn’t overthink it. For those that don’t want to get on Instagram and take a screenshot – I’ve written out her list of words below with the hope that one of them might find you.

Remember that number I asked you to pick? Go through this list and count to your number and whatever word you land on, that can be your word.

And if you would rather make a thoughtful choice on your own – please do.

Evolve Curiosity Generosity
Boundless Capture Root
Care Uncover Go
Audacity Awaken Seek
Integrate Versatility Dance
Homecoming Sky Contribute
Collect Notice Foundation
Tapestry Refine Process
Unfold Within Vista
Dusk Further Through
Yes Space Lasting
Onward Do Lasting
Delight Voyage Anchor
Continue Liberate Reclaim
Reveal Wonder Ask
River Continuum Change
Tranquility Land Readiness
Preparation Ripple Loosen
Start Shift Rhythm
Make Renew Pursue

My word is “Integrate” and I’ve thought about how and what I plan to intentionally integrate into my life this year. I want to actively “integrate presence” into my life in 2022 by practicing really being with people fully and undistracted. I decided that instead of making this a resolution – that this would be a word for my hear as MHN suggested. I’ve written it on my calendar on each month of the year so that it won’t be something I struggle to remember – it will be already waiting for me with each turn of the page.

I hope that whatever word you found will be something you can somehow hold on to through the year as I will be. I also hope that on the very hard days, your word will hold meaning and offer comfort to you.

Every one of these words can offer us pause, a reframing, and a way to help us connect to ourselves and others.

If you would like to share, I would love to know your word – you can leave it in the comments below.

Wishing you all a year of patience with yourselves and a year of thoughtful grief-work.

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.

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