My Why audio version of this blog available here.
On The Silent Why podcast we ask every guest the same question at the end: What's your Herman? (I won't explain that again in full now, as you can read or listen to that via the blog or the episode ‘What’s your Herman?’ on our podcast feed). But a brief explanation is that Hermans are all about hope, joy and the future, and things we can pass on to others to help them in their loss or to be more prepared for it.
And a couple of weeks ago during Episode 11 Chris and I were looking back over the first 10 losses and people we’d interviewed and we played all 10 of the Hermans that we’d collected so far. From looking at them I realised that each one gave me something to ‘know’ and I wrote down 10+1 Knows (you know, because we’re doing 101 losses… it made sense in my head at the time!). When chatting I promised we’d release them on the blog and I decided when better to do that, than at the start of a new year, when hope is something we all need, but can’t always find.
I don’t know how you’re feeling when you look into a new year, whether you’re scared, nervous, excited, frustrated, sad, lonely or just indifferent. The interesting thing about grief is that you can be at both ends of the spectrum when you see a new year coming, plus everything in-between.
Some of you, in the middle of your grief, might feel like a new year is of no value at all to you, because everything has lost its meaning and colour in your world right now. A new year feels like a slap in the face with all you’re carrying, and trying to process and it couldn’t be less important. On the other end of the spectrum, some people in their grief are celebrating it, because you guys didn’t expect to be here to see in the new year and you’re grateful you’re beating the clock for more breaths of life. Some of you see it as a marker and again it can mark something awful or something wonderful - ‘I don’t want my loss of him to be last year’ compared to ‘I made it, I’m still doing ok and I made it another year without her’. Some of you are watching borrowed time for others and the pain of knowing the next year or last year might be their last is so painful you resent the world for celebrating the reminder. Some of you are just chalking up another mark in the counting of the years since something or someone was lost. As a third of the world celebrates, another third mourns, and another third feels indifferent.
But, (I think most of you trust me enough now to know that I’ll never leave you on a bad note with no hope) that is exactly why I thought today was the perfect time to share my ‘Knows’. In fact I’m just reminded of Joey in Friends shouting ‘Happy No Year!’ - I’m going to take that and turn it into ‘Know Year’.
“No! …Year. Happy No Year!” Joey Tribbiani, Friends
And if you haven’t seen that episode of Friends, where have you been?! (I've put the video at the bottom of the blog for you.)
So here’s my 10+1 Knows that I’ve gathered from our 10 Hermans so far (and it has nothing to do with me not being able to squeeze it into just 10!).
If you’ve heard all our Silent Why episodes you might even be able to place which one came from which guest or loss. I can literally hear each of their voices in my head as I read them, which I love. I want you to hear these from people who know loss, as their gift to you, wherever you are, however you feel. See which one stands out most for you, and choose to believe it as the clock strikes 12 on New Year's Eve:
Know you are going to die one day and use that to start really living
Know you’re allowed to feel what you’re feeling and give it the space it needs
Know it’s not the end of the world, there are people worse off than you
Know life will beat you up, but it can’t take away your faith, hopes or dreams
Know there’s a cycle to growth and it’s entirely possible to come through stronger
Know there’s a God or a higher power that helps you make sense of the world and what you go through
Know there’s a lot to be thankful for and have appreciation for - simple things like opening your eyes in the morning, take every opportunity now
Know you can change the narrative and your story, doesn’t have to be what you inherit
Know everything is temporary, even your pain. Time will help you process things even if it doesn’t heal everything in the way you want.
Know that those we’ve loved and lost come with us on the rest of the journey
(10+1) Know you’re not alone and it’s not the end.
So they’re my Knows.
Forget the external goals, desires, dreams, disappointments, frustrations, celebrations - they are fleeting. Focus on the internal. Find hope, courage, strength, time, faith, joy, belief, determination, perseverance, because I promise you these things will last and help you with whatever you’re dealing with behind and for whatever’s ahead. These are the things that help those around us, inspire others and strengthen ourselves, whether your battle is for you, or someone you love.
Take it one day at a time.
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6, The Bible (NLT)
Give yourself a break and follow the advice of Francis of Assisi:
Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. Francis of Assisi
Happy Know Year!
Here you go, Joey’s Happy No Year: