2013 began with tears. I’m still not sure why, though it probably has to do with a deeper acceptance of my life mate/soul mate’s goneness coupled with the slide toward the third anniversary of his death. You’d think with such a sad beginning to the year that things would ony get better, but my life went downhill from there until I felt as if I were drowning in sadness. So, in an effort to change my outlook, I decided to start the year over.
Last night at midnight, I toasted in my new new year. It seemed such a silly thing to do, yet almost profound at the same time, that it made me smile. I have to admit, I did mist up briefly a little later when I put his photos away. Sometimes seeing them bring me comfort, but sometimes they only serve to remind me of what I have lost, and there is no place for the past in this new new year of mine. (At least not yet. I’m sure there will come a point when I need the small bit of comfort those photos can bring and will set them out again.)
I have to focus on what is, and what “is” is me alone. It’s hard to carry on any kind of relationship with someone who is dead. He doesn’t respond when I talk, doesn’t offer comfort when I need it, doesn’t hug me or smile at me. Not a very fulfilling relationship!
I’m not being entirely facetious, just trying to face the truth.
I’ve read that people who manage to have a relationship with their deceased loved ones are happier than those who shut out any memory of those who are gone, but still, it’s a one-sided relationship. And, to be honest, for me it’s better that way. Since I have to find my own path through the rest of my days, I’d just as soon not have a ghost hanging around, hampering whatever fulfillment I might find. (Hmmm. Is there a story in that?)
I started my new new year in an effort to gain a new focus (or do I mean a new new focus?) And so far, this new new year is going great. Not only can I still feel the effects of that midnight smile, but the weather is gorgeous — blue skies, warm air, the faintest of breezes — which was perfect for my long walk in the desert. Even better, I can feel a slight shift in my outlook, a turning away from the way I wish things were to the way things are and maybe even to the way things are meant to be.
I’m hoping I can continue this new new year the way it has begun, but if I begin drowning in sorrow again, I’ll just start over with a new new new year.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+
February 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm
I won’t tell anyone how to begin a new year. How I did it this year was purely by accident. I was working on New Years Eve at a tiny station on the other side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Even half an hour before the new year was to begin it was impossible to enter that station because of all the people coming back from where they were watching the fireworks. And so I had to walk across the bridge to get to a station to take me home.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is about a mile long. It was built during the Great Depression and so gave a lot of workers hope not only when it was being constructed but when it was first in service. People who could build such a bridge could not be easily defeated.
As I walked across it that night I thought about this and how beautiful the harbour happened to be. There was a barge with coloured red lights forming the shape of ancient sails. There were cruise ships. One had a flashing heart design. The water looked to be a rich red wine colour rather than its usual blackness. Hope and maybe moving on is what New Years Eve is about.
February 1, 2013 at 7:00 pm
Pat I’m sorry your new year has been painful…and I love the way you are dealing with it. You have mentioned before that upsurges of sadness seem to precede new acceptance and I think that’s very true. Whilst death is truly in a instant…a single breath between life and death, the process of adjusting to this is a long journey and the closer we get to acceptance and moving away from our lost one the more our grief can cry out wishing acknowledgement.
Wishing you a positive new month whilst acknowledging there will be moments of pain. xx
February 1, 2013 at 8:12 pm
Thank you, Leesa. I did make discovery today, in this first day of my new year. I’ve been so confused about all of this — his illess, pain, and dying, and my grief — that it’s been hard to get a footing, but my new “mantra” is “This is the way it is.” No more mentally reworking the past to make it come out right, no more hoping for a different present. Just — this is the way it is. It’s comforting, in a strange sort of way, and gives me a solid footing to take the next step wherever and whatever that might be.
February 2, 2013 at 12:57 am
You know Pat I was talking to someone today who suffered extreme child abuse. She is trying to heal but struggling. I said to her that it is only acceptance that will take her to true healing. Sometimes life makes no sense…what happens to us makes no sense and death, well death seems the most senseless of all. But indeed “this is the way it is” and it’s only acceptance that allows us to move on, “whatever that might be”.