It is New Years Eve 1979 and I am seven years old. It is well passed my bed time but there are many adults filling our home tonight to celebrate. I have decided to sneak out of my bedroom for a snack. The creak of my door goes unheard over the handful of guitar players that have formed in the living room. I hear the familiar sound of my step father and his banjo. I round the corner into the kitchen and snag myself a wagon wheel and a pudding cup. You know the kind that came in a metal tin with edges so sharp that you could slice open your finger? I go completely unnoticed, although I am not surprised. There is a card game in the dining room. The cigarette smoke is so thick that if anyone in today’s generation were to walk in and see it they would immediately call 911. That was totally normal. So were the stubby beer bottles and Waylon Jennings “Amanda” on the wood grained Hi Fi. The “band” has formed in the living room and let me just tell you that if they ever successfully made it through an entire song….we celebrated. Guitars, banjos, tambourines and harmonicas filled the space, and Export A cigarettes hung in all their mouths. This was 1979, music, food, friends and everyone was welcome. This was New Years.
It is New Years Eve, 1992 and I am twenty years old. I got engaged over Christmas to a man I have been dating since I was fourteen. I am not surprised, he had me pick out the ring. I am most excited to show my grandmother because she is very ill with cancer. She passed away four days after Christmas. I don’t want to celebrate New Years because I miss her so much. We are ringing in the New Year at a friend’s home, having a tobogganing party. There are at least thirty of us together and it is nice to be around family and friends. It is after midnight when I receive the call that my fiance’s grandfather has passed away. How do I tell him? He is going to be devastated. He crumples in my arms and sobs. We both buried a grandparent within a week of each other. Either of them made it to our wedding. This was 1992, sadness, loss, family, love. This was New Years.
It is December 31, 2006 and I am thirty-four years old. I am just days away from giving birth for the third time. I have now been married for twelve difficult years. I have been so blessed to be given a daughter, a son and another boy is on the way. Tonight is a quiet New Years. We play a game of Clue, where my competitive nature shines through and I teach my children the importance of winning. Now that they are adults, they take great pride in being able to beat me at anything. 🙂 We gather up some snacks and watch The Pursuit of Happiness. I will only gather the irony of this years later. It was New Years, not happy or sad, just a new year. We are all in bed by ten o’clock. This was 2006, family, love, denial, regret, old and new. This was New Year’s.
It is December 31, 2010 and I am thirty-seven years old. I have never been more happy to be rid of a year than this one. I have conflicted feelings about that as well. I have had many challenging years in my marriage, but this has been the worst. I have been hurt beyond what I knew I was capable of and lost too much of myself. For that reason I am ready to say goodbye to the year and start fresh. Six weeks into this year I lost the man who I have always considered my father. He raised me from the age of 2. He was always my source of protection and the second he left I felt vulnerable and afraid. I didn’t want the new year, more days to slip away without him. There was no celebrating this year. I would find my strength again, but not this night. This was 2010, death, despair, betrayal, hurt. This was New Years.
It is December 31, 2013 and I am forty one years old. This is one of the happiest New Years I have ever had. Eight days ago I received my final divorce papers in the mail. I was married for nineteen years and we have parted as friends and co parents. I have spent this last year healing and will continue to do so. Five months ago I reluctantly agreed to a coffee date with a man who would change my view on love and trust. We are spending this New Year’s Eve moving him in. I have never seen the snow fall in a more beautiful, peaceful way. It is just after midnight, I am safely in his arms and it is as though these thick soft flakes are swirling around us, celebrating our new beginning. This is 2013, renewal, faith, trust, beginnings, hope and love. This was New Year’s
I wanted my New Years post to be a little different. I was looking for a way to say that our lives change so much year to year. We can be in some challenging places in our lives, feeling as though we have no reason to celebrate. It can then be amazing to see how just a few short months or years later, considerable change happens. We have reasons to smile, celebrate and remember why we are so grateful again.
If you are trying to manage the New Year after a loss, I know it has been unbearable pain. Your pain is unlike any other, it is unique to you. That is why regardless of what you read or research it is going to be trial and error to find what works for you. Always remember, you get to decide what that looks like. Please give yourself time and love.
I don’t want to simply tell you to be patient. I don’t want to simply tell you to appreciate all that you have. I want to remind you that each day we have a choice. We are the ones that control what we choose to do with our time and energy. Surround yourself with those who truly care, support and love you. There have been times in my life when I had to be my own biggest supporter, and that is okay. Keep yourself open to all of that positive change, love and hope.
If you were happy to bid this year a farewell for negative reasons, think of all ways to build a great 2018. If you were sad to see the year end, always remember that your memories stay in your heart and no date on a calendar will erase them. Decide to embrace each day and live it as much as you can for all of those who cannot. Smile, eat chocolate, dance, laugh, do great things and leave your mark!
Happy New Year
Much Love ❤