So we’ve come to the end of another year. In some ways it seems so ridiculous to be reflective because of an arbitrary day on the calendar. One day is the same as the next. 24 hours long. Waking in the morning and going to bed at night. Work. Meals. Bills.
It IS different though. Because we make it so. And as I look back at 2013, at what was the saddest and hardest year I have ever experienced, I react with a bittersweet mixture of gladness and melancholy that the year is over. Why would I regret the death of 2013? Should I not be ecstatic that it’s finally over? This year of pain and loss, grief and sorrow? Make no mistake. I am happy to see it go. In my mind at least, I have been able to pretend that midnight tonight is some sort of threshold to cross to better times. That immediately after the countdown, glass clinking and kisses that we’ll be forging a new and better path for all.
So from where then comes the regret? Only this. That this magic door of new years, that takes us from one calendar page to another, takes us in to a year in which my daughter never lived. It takes us further and further away from hearing her voice, for seeing her alive and well.
True, She died very early in 2013. It had barely begun. And in a week’s time I will have to jump the hurdle of her “Anniversary.” But she lived in 2013. 2014, she will not. And that fills me with a hollow sadness deeper than the usual. But I also look back on 2013 and see the things that made it better than I could have hoped. And it’s people. Family and friends that made me feel more loved than I have ever in my life. Do any of you know how much you mean to me? Do you know what it is that you really did for me? You may think you do, but you really don’t. The small things that were nothing to you, meant much more to me. And it’s only because of your character that you’d be unaware that you did so much without even knowing it. I can say this without a doubt, that if my daughter were able to, she would smile, and hug you, and thank you for taking care of her Dad. It was her way.
That was the back.
and what of the now? The now is a tired man, who’s come through a little piece of hell; a battle-scarred warrior who didn’t put up that much of a fight.
The now is a point in time where I have the choice to either fall back, back in to the misery that I’ve come through. Or a chance to fall forward. Stumbling forward, seeking better. My heart says fall back. My soul screams push forward. My brain says do neither. But I have hands on my back. The same hands that held me up, from falling backwards in to ruin, are the ones that are now pushing me ever so slightly forward. past the tipping point, so that I fall forward in to my future, instead of dwelling in my past. And although a large part of my past, the most difficult part of it, will come with me, I move. I move forward.
What is the forward? That’s the real mystery. I told my dear wife that the Christmas gift I wanted to give her was one that I couldn’t wrap, and that I couldn’t promise. A better life than we’ve had to this point. A recovery from the shadow of grief that has covered us this past 360 odd days, Removing the black veil. The mystery is not in what we want to do. Travel. See the world, live to the fullest. Make every day as incredible as we can. Love our friends. Love each other, in short, live completely. The mystery is whether or not this life will afford us the opportunities to do all that we want to do. But falling forward, we will do it. Live like we never have before. Falling forward, looking to enjoy what time we have left.
And as silly as the new years thing is, I indulge myself in another dream. In that when I fall forward, I can imagine that some of the hands on my back, are hers. That I can hear her laugh like crystal bells, and whispered words. “Go, daddy. Go and live.”
Just like she would want. Falling forward.