As the holiday season envelops us in its warm embrace, there is often an undeniable undercurrent of emotions, especially for those of us who carry the weight of grief. It’s a time when joy, pain, success, and struggles often cuddle up and sit beside each other. It’s like a kaleidoscope of grief and joy coming together. Perhaps it is an opportunity to view loss and joy through a new lens that helps us navigate the holidays by shifting our perspective.

This time of year, we are compelled to review our year-end plans and then set our sights on creating new resolutions and intentions. Humans are designed, maybe even wired, to think about endings and new beginnings with great hope.

But with so much that we experience over a year, how does our brain guide us in curating the narrative of what memories, thoughts, and images to keep and what to discard? What factors influence the stories that echo in our minds as we recount them to ourselves and others? How do we do this review and turn the page with anticipation of a new year with grief in our pockets?

The answer may be found in our ability and courage to look at our life through many changing and evolving lenses, much like the kaleidoscope.

As you may recall, a kaleidoscope is an instrument or scope through which you look to view the bits of colored glass pieces that sit on plates and mirrors. When turned, these pieces move and reflect patterns and images that change.

The kaleidoscope has become my new favorite metaphor for life and our endless ability to change perspectives and find strength in adversity. Just as the images transform with each turn, our outlook on life and circumstances can undergo a metamorphosis. In these shifts, we discover new insights and changing views that can guide us to our resilience and healing.

With one turn of the kaleidoscope, I see my four generations together in a room. The room is filled with many emotions shifting and molding into each other. I turn the scope, and I view my sister repositioning her wig as another cruel round of chemo has just been completed. She laughs as she watches my dad make funny sounds and tickles the feet of the two new babies that have blessed our lives this year.

Another turn and the image changes with visions of awards, celebrations, friendships and laughter, defeats and struggles, funerals of friends, and celebrations of new life, new opportunities, and exciting work.

Turn again and the image of my father’s coffin and my mother being presented with the American flag by a female veteran as my mother whispers, “My husband would be so proud that you are here—a woman representing our country. He believed deeply in the rights and unique power of women.” This lens reminds me of my source and commitment to my work in empowering women. Thank you, Dad.

Grief is a complex journey

The holidays can magnify its intensity. The festive cheer, the laughter of loved ones, and the twinkling lights often cast a poignant shadow on the absence of those no longer with us and memories of shared celebrations that blend with the ache of loss.

In my reflections and experience, I know that pain and joy can coexist. It’s not a linear journey, but a continual clicking and turning, revealing new perspectives and emotions. One moment, the kaleidoscope captures the profound joy of personal successes, celebrations, and cherished moments. Another turn and images expose the struggles, the heartaches, and the moments when life feels like an uphill climb.

What may seem like an intricate pattern of challenges and setbacks from one angle becomes a mosaic of growth and opportunity from another. Embracing the many views allows us to navigate the complexities of grief, joy, and success. It provides a sense of purpose and an unwavering belief in the transformative power of our resilience.

Hope gives me the courage to turn the page.

In the spirit of resilience and hope, we can draw inspiration from those who have left an indelible mark on our lives. “May the work I have done speak for me—I’m going home.” These words, etched on a plaque within my father’s casket, will be my New Year’s intention.

As we enter the new year, my heartfelt wish for each of you is to navigate the kaleidoscope of life with grace and courage. May you find solace in the beauty of the ever-shifting patterns, embracing both the joyous moments and the challenges. May your journey be a testament to the love you’ve shared and the impact you’ve made. Let each turn of life be a reminder that every click brings an opportunity for growth, resilience, and the creation of a tapestry that reflects the depth of your heart.

During the coming year, may you find strength in vulnerability, joy in unexpected moments, and the courage to take another look through a different lens. Here’s to a new chapter filled with healing, hope, and the unwavering belief that our unique colors contribute to a more beautiful and compassionate world in the grand mosaic of our beautiful, painful, and unpredictable existence in this life.

May your life speak for you before you go home.

Wishing you a Resilient New Year!!