New Year: New “day”

by Sheri McGregor, M.A.

It’s a brand new year, with a fresh new slate. You get to choose what’s ahead. I hope that you will courageously and boldly get on with living the life you choose. Will you make this year the best it can be?

In Done With The Crying, there’s an exercise about looking ahead. It’s one of many exercises to help parents like you, who don’t deserve the crud they’ve been dealt by adult children, to move forward for yourselves. You’ll want to get the book … and then the next one (Beyond Done) to fully benefit. But right now, I’d like to give you a choice.

Imagine standing at a fork in the road. One path loops back to more of the same (sadness, regret, rumination, unrequited love, despair). Imagine stepping onto that path, imagine the weight of it all slumping over your shoulders, dragging at your feet, and pulling you down.

The other path is uncertain, but you get to pave it however you want. That means steering the journey to almost anywhere you choose. (New adventures? Meaningful pursuits you now have time for? Fun?) Now, imagine stepping onto that road. Suddenly the air is charged with excitement. Possibility sparkles like sunlight on the horizon. A butterfly flutters by … and you have the urge to follow it to unknown flower fields and places of beauty that you’ve so been missing.

It’s decision time.  Which road do you choose? More of the same? Or a new frontier? (And that’s not a Star Trek reference! Although, some of us do have more space to explore now.)

Related reading

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23 thoughts on “New Year: New “day”

  1. Stillalive

    Happy New Dawn to you, strong parents, and to Sheri whose support helps keep us surviving and thriving. Reading your stories, I realize that we are stronger than we think. Serenity, I responded to your metaphor of the shawl that you have now put in the closet. I think I have finally done the same. For me it was a very yin yang Christmas and New Year’s. My dear friends, who are a generation younger and live in Florida flew me down from my home in the Berkshires to spend Christmas with them and their newly adopted 21 year-old daughter. If you could see us in our matching pajamas, which says “We Are Stronger Together.” The week before I was feeling so alone at home, especially after my ES made up crazy lies about me to my two brothers and three cousins. We all grew up together and had remained close until they drank my son‘s Kool-Aid. He is very clever and manipulative And they suddenly estranged themselves from me. My son also convinced his son that I was this disgusting person so when I called him to ask if I could take him out the week before Christmas,, he said that he had no desire to see me and that he was sure I understood why. I love my grandson with all my heart and this was devastating. Two years ago my son did something so out of character. He bought a condo for me to live in in the town where I was renting.(he is wealthy and I live on the financial edge). It was to be a place for me to age in and a good investment for him when I would be gone. I am 82 years old. I was sure that he did it at his wife’s urging, she always loved me, although she can no longer talk to me. I was right. In the week between Christmas and New Year’s while I was in Florida I got a notice from my son’s attorney and the sheriff in the town where I live saying that my son was starting an eviction and I must be out in 30 days. I don’t know what I would’ve done if we were not for the generosity of the friends with whom I was staying … chosen family. They were so enraged that they hired a lawyer for me, and we are hoping to get an extension to the end of the summer when they will help me find a new place.. No one can believe that my son has hired an attorney to evict his 82-year-old mother in the middle of the winter. By the way, he’s a lawyer, too, and very crafty. so my Christmas New Year’s was filled with a lot of pain and some joy and I’m feeling somewhat cleansed for this new year. Thank you all for sharing your stories and your courage and, as my pajamas say,” we are stronger together.”

    1. Susan

      My heart goes out to you.! I am soooo sorry you are having to experience this. I think things hurt the most when we are trying our best to cope and change. My adopted mom called me and asked for help. I went for a week to see what was wrong and not working. I ended up staying 2 years because even with nurses in and out -someone had to do normal household things.
      It seemed like we would just get her home and one of her specialists would say you have to go back to the hospital for more tests. I was there when she did pass for which I am very grateful. But soon after her passing my brothers served me with an eviction notice and also thought maybe I should pay rent for the time I was there.
      I struggle so hard to understand and as you when your family is so bright you simply cannot comprehend. Thank goodness you were with good friends and they are helping you. I will keep my fingers crossed that you find an understanding and empathetic Judge and if you do have to move —it’s to a wonderful place with only love and support and happiness.
      From a fellow estrangee
      Much love. going forward!

    2. Serenity

      Dearest Stillalive: Re: January 16, 2024 at 3:31 pm:
      Thank You for Your Kind words…I do need to clarify the source of the words You thanked me for in Your post in which You say:
      “Serenity, I responded to your metaphor of the shawl that you have now put in the closet.”
      My reply was to Peony’s post: January 2, 2024 at 10:09 am
      (1-3-24) Dearest Peony:
      Your Words Are Beautiful and “Right-To-The-Heart-Of-The Matter”…’
      Grief & Estrangement is exactly how You describe it…”shawl of grief”…
      Yesss…Your question, “What’s a fair amount of time to spend overheated, weighed down, and oppressed?” Is So Timely & So Needed…I say, “Not A Moment Longer”…
      Also…Knowing with Radical Acceptance…What You say in Your words, “I can say that once the when is made, it’s final. The shawl is in the closet, I still see it now and then, but I don’t reach out to feel or touch it and I sure won’t include it as part of my wardrobe ever again.”
      In Gratitude for You “Stillalive”,,,”Peony”…”Beautiful Sheri” & Each and Every Beloved One in this Healing Community.
      We Are In This Beautiful Precious Life Journey Together…
      May All Be Blessed In Body…Mind…& Spirit…

  2. Steph

    2024 is a year to re-focus on self love, to befriend all the parts of myself that had been lost in the grief of estrangement. To appreciate the mother and grandmother I was (and still am) before being cast off 8 long years ago with no explanation. It is a year to understand with compassion, the depths of addiction, mental illness, and resentment that I did not cause, cannot cure, and that I cannot control in my only child. I pray my daughter gets all of the help she needs. And that one day before the end of my life I am able to see my 2 beautiful granddaughters. In the meantime my goals are to enjoy the healthy life I have built from doing a lot of healing work, and to remain grateful for everything. Sending love and understanding out to all those here who need it. And am thanking you for yours in return. Be well, be safe, we are enough, we are loved.

  3. David

    Thanks for the Nina Simone video. What a great voice she was and what a beautiful dancer.
    That feeling of having a New Dawn is something I’ve experienced a few times in life. This reminds me this can be one of those times.

  4. Michelle W

    Hi Sheri and all you lovely parents,

    Hope you’re feeling better after your slip Sheri
    I am definitely feeling better and looking forward to this year, I turn 60 in October so something to celebrate and look forward to.
    I’ve had a few hard years with one of my precious sons estranging from us a second time which put me back into depression. I have been heartbroken and am working hard to be healthy and happy with or without him in our life. I realise I can’t base my happiness on whether he’s in our life or not and am giving myself the care and love I used to lavish on my children. I think there comes a time when we need to do that and put ourselves first which is hard for mums to do. I am now on fabulous antidepressants which suit me and I sleep wonderfully which was previously terrible. I wish you all a very happy and healthy 2024 and also healing ❤️‍ for your hearts.
    Best wishes Michelle

  5. Jane

    Hi Sheri,
    Thank you once again for your insightful and comforting messages for the New Year.
    We will always love our daughter and we made mistakes but we got a lot of things right and we don’t deserve the way she has treated us. So moving forward I have decided to let go of the guilt and this has given me a brighter perspective and sense of freedom.
    Like you I have set some goals for the year. I remind myself every day that I have a lot to be grateful for.
    Happy New Year Sheri to you and your family.

  6. Elizabeth

    I too am grateful I am not alone in this journey. My only child went into a severe depression after her father suddenly died. They were the best of friends.
    My life changed. Her life changed. Our relationship changed. I haven’t seen her in over 2 years. She lives 15 minutes away. I’m not allowed to see my 2 beautiful granddaughters 15 and 13. She got a divorce from someone who loved her dearly. She bullies her ex-husband and she bullied me until I had to block her from any communication. I’m not sure I will ever see her again. When I read was is written by others, I know there are others who have a similar heartache.

  7. Bonita

    I am grateful for this support. Each season I hope my prayers for change and reconciliation are answered. Instead, 95% of the time texting or conversing (rarely) is deeply painful as I continue to go on the defensive in some way. I chose a ex-husband whose emotional bullying has been passed over to my only child/son. I always believed my son would shirk the alienating tactics learned from his dad of his youth. Instead, it’s as if I’m constantly re-living my ex of over 30 years ago! At times I believe my son’s depression and struggle with self harm require I engage?? But I’m physically ill after the bullying from him so I know God doesn’t want that. I pray that my son will be restored to God His True Father, and that I can wait and trust until my son clearly shows love and kindness toward me. I must step back for my health, however difficult when I know he is struggling. Thank you again, Sheri. Blessings and covering for all parents experiencing deep loss.

  8. Wendy H.

    I am grateful to know I am not alone on this journey. I raised my daughter by myself and we were always there for each other. Six years ago she married a pretty man with a pretty family who have lots of money. That family grabbed her as their own, with resistance from her for a couple years, and then Bam, they won her completely. She has nothing to do with me now. My 2 beautiful grandchildren hardly know me as my daughter has pulled them out of my life almost completely.
    She didn’t respond to a Merry Christmas text I sent her. But then texted to invite me to my 6 year old granddaughter’s birthday party (“if I’d like to join them”) I get to share a couple hours with that whole family. My husband says we should go because it’s the only time I’ll get to see my grandchildren. I’m frozen and highly dreading it.
    I recently bought Done with the Crying and it has helped so much. I know I have choices, but they are hard to make when I have to give up a chance to see my granddaughters.

    1. rparents Post author

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I understand that last line … the choice for some grandparents to let go and be free can be so difficult.

      HUGS for you,
      Sheri McGregor

    2. Robin G.

      Wendy I feel your pain. I left the gifts for my grandchildren under the acknowledgement. I pracy and pray. I truly can’t find a reason for this. She wasn’t raised this way…

    3. David

      Hi Wendy,
      I would go if I was you. I have never met my granddaughter, and you should take the chance. You will regret it if you don’t. But don’t go thinking it’s an overture to reconcile with your daughter, and don’t let her think that. Stay mum with her, put all your focus on your granddaughter, and maybe you will sow the seeds of future visits to see her again.

  9. Trish J.

    Here I am again with what I have seen and what I have been going through. The bible says “Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

    When you call your kid/kids and they make it clear they want nothing to do with you, this is disrespectful. Some of these kids are even openly disrespectful. Your calls put them in a bad spot and makes them and you, uncomfortable. If you really love them, you don’t want this to happen.

    Now for the horrible things I have seen going on in the lives of people I personally know. We will start with Gramma “A”. This gramma was everything in her grand child’s life and loved by the DIL and son. Then she gets sick with cancer. Sonny boy does not even go to see her until the funeral. The grand child doesn’t want to see her either because it’s too depressing. Dil feels sad but is the only working parent and is short on time. Gramma dies on Easter Sunday, and no one finds her for three days. Gramma is found surrounded by gifts that were waiting to give to Grandchild. Kid get gifts and enjoys them. Gramma seems to be forgotten.

    Gramma “B” Came to visit me often. She has two kids but I never see them. She gets sick and it falls to me to take her to the store. She tries to give me money, but I don’t take it. Her kids never came around but moved immediately into her house after she passed. They still live there.

    I could go on and on about how other people’s children behave with elder parents. AND now it’s me. Funny how they all need to be counseled on how and when to dump us.

  10. Serenity

    Enjoy…Beloved Ones…
    In Friendship & Gratitude, Serenity…
    Jeremy Camp – Keep me in the Moment Lyrics
    I’ve been thinking ‘bout time
    And where does it go
    How can I stop my life from passing me by I don’t know
    I’ve been thinking ‘bout family and how it’s going so fast
    Will I wake up one morning just wishing that I could go back
    I’ve been thinking ‘bout lately maybe
    I can make a change and let You change me
    So, with all of my heart this is my prayer

    Singing Oh Lord keep me in the moment
    Help me live with my eyes wide open
    ‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me
    Singing Oh Lord show me what matters
    Throw away what I’m chasing after
    ‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me
    Keep me in the moment
    Keep me in the moment
    Keep me in the moment
    ‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what You have for me

    When I wake up in the morning
    Lord, search my heart
    Don’t let me stray, I just wanna stay where You are
    All I got is one shot, one try
    One go around in this beautiful life
    Nothing is wasted when everything’s placed in Your hands

    I’ve been thinking about heaven
    And the promise You hold
    So, it’s all eyes on You until the day
    You call me home

    Music video by Jeremy Camp performing Keep Me In The Moment. © 2020 Stolen Pride Records LLC., under exclusive license to Capitol CMG, Inc.

    1. Jo Ann

      This is the perfect reflection of my struggles.
      I trying to reclaim my life, recover from the emotional hits, see a new life with less stress and more enjoyment.
      Thank you for sharing this, it comes at the perfect time.
      I’m going to print it (by hand) on a poster. Reminders
      of where I’ve been and where I’m headed!
      I am grateful for this site!!

  11. Peony

    For me, it really was as simple as making a decision to remove the shawl of grief wrapped around my shoulders. I wore it for its familiar feel for far too long. In retrospect, my struggle wasn’t with how to take it off because I knew how to do that, and I believe that instinctively we all do. The when is what the struggle was about. How long will I carry the extra weight? How many Springs and Summers will I be uncomfortable? How many seasons will slip into years? When will my self imposed sentence be over with? What’s a fair amount of time to spend overheated, weighed down, and oppressed? That part wasn’t so simple. It was hell in fact. I can say that once the when is made, it’s final. The shawl is in the closet, I still see it now and then, but I don’t reach out to feel or touch it and I sure won’t include it as part of my wardrobe ever again. Wishing all a healthy, peaceful, prosperous 2024!

    1. Serenity

      (1-3-24) Dearest Peony:
      Your Words Are Beautiful and “Right-To-The-Heart-Of-The Matter”…’
      Grief & Estrangement is exactly how You describe it…”shawl of grief”…
      Almost like a “shroud”…

      Yesss…Your question, “What’s a fair amount of time to spend overheated, weighed down, and oppressed?” Is So Timely & So Needed…I say, “Not A Moment Longer”…

      Also…Knowing with Radical Acceptance…What You say in Your words, “I can say that once the when is made, it’s final. The shawl is in the closet, I still see it now and then, but I don’t reach out to feel or touch it and I sure won’t include it as part of my wardrobe ever again.”

      Thank You For Shining the Light Of Truth Of Having A “Choice”…To Be Free…& Happy…& Healthy…And All That Is Good & Wonderful…Releasing One’s Self…& Each One…To Their Highest & Best…

      In Divine Friendship & Gratitude,

    2. Sue

      Ty for your very helpful analogy of the shawl. I’ve missed three years of holidays & birthdays since my eldest daughter has left my life. Although I’ve wavered back & forth, reaching out very occasionally, I’ve finally come to the point where I know there is no use hoping any longer. I am 77 yrs now, so I feel time is of the essence. As you say, I will be taking off my shawl too & putting it away in my closet. I’ve removed my rose coloured glasses too. Your post truly touched me. I wish you a Happy New Year’s too & the best always….

  12. Trish j

    I am sorry to feel like I have to write this next thing. Family life is over-rated.

    It seems to me that so many people are reaching the elder years only to find out their kids don’t really want to be part of it. You probably have given them unconditional love and they probably gave their own children unconditional love, BUT they do not have it for you who are their parents. I think by the design of creation this is instinctive and meant for survival of the future generation.

    Try never to expect or need anything from your kids. If they don’t need you, you did the job of raising them properly. Be glad if they are happy and don’t need you. Consider yourself lucky if they are generous enough to want to include you in their life.

    I know it’s hard for us parents when they dump us, but I plan to go with it. No more chunks of $ in the K’s out of my pocket when one of their stupid failures happens, again.

  13. Serenity

    Thank You Beautiful Sheri!!!

    Your post is Empowering & Encouraging…
    Which Is What You Always Are…

    I posted the following 2024 message in the private membership section…Reposting here for those that are not in the private membership…

    It Is the 1st Day of 2024…
    The 1st The First-Day Of-The-Rest-Of-Our-Lives…
    We’re Still Here…
    We’re Still Breathing…
    Another Day…
    Another Opportunity…
    To Choose To Be In The Here & Now…
    In Each Moment…
    In Each Breath…
    In This Precious Life…
    Sending Beautiful Beloved Sheri…& Each Beloved One Here…Peace,,,Love…Joy…
    You Deserve All That Is Good & Wonderful…
    May Each Be Blessed In Body…Mind…& Spirit…
    In Gratitude & Friendship…
    Thank You For Being Here…We’re In This Together…
    Hugs & More Hugs…”HAPPY NEW YEAR 2024″!!!!


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