Another New Year
As a youngster the new year meant another birthday with swell gifts, a higher school class level and another Christmas. Then, somewhere in my early twenties, the new year morphed into a sign or invisible milepost that helped declare my independence from my parents and the church. Every new year meant I made my own decisions, did my own thing because I was an adult. The year on the calendar confirmed it and being a coming-out-of-her-painfully-shy twentysomething the new year supported my efforts to "free myself".
Then my thirties hit and the meaning of a new year morphed from the years of being an adult to the years of living carefree and selfishly. Carefree and selfish about love and financial responsibilities, carefree about planning for the future, carefree about the impact of death. This all changed though the year I turned 38. Death snatched my father away and left me bereft, hurt, inconsolable, angry and for the first time that I could remember, afraid of the new year.
That new year I knew would be the beginning of the end of living carefree. I had my mother to care for which meant I had to become responsible with my money. I had to begin living on a budget, invest more in the 401k offered at work. I had to plan for the future for my mother and I so living carefree was erased and the new year began.
That same year is when I also faced the reality that I probably wouldn't have children and for that I mourned the whole year. New years were seen as timeframes to meet financial and career goals. To make sure my mother worried about nothing financially. That my nest egg could provide security and allow her to continue her lifestyle of traveling with family and friends, her shopping habits, her comfort.
Love alluded me and my youth began to fade and each new year brought new prescriptions, new warnings to manage my weight and new stresses from the job and other family members. Death was not fair and he was not kind. Each new year he came in and began loosening the closely knit family ties. My grandfather, a young cousin, three uncles, an aunt and my mother.
My mother died. And for a while, my future and my focus died with her. This was not the life I had planned for me.
It's like Death has caused me to fear each new year because now I know my family is being taken and the order, traditions, gatherings, love and security was dissipating through my hand like water. I can do nothing but wonder who will die this year? Where will I have to fly at a moment's notice, who will need help burying the deceased? But rather than allowing Death to cripple and paralyze me with fear, I'm making plans to see more of my family next year. To see cousins I've not visited in a while. To hold my family close, lose weight and every so often be carefree again.
So Happy New Year everyone! The Lord bless and strengthen you to make it through this year and all the joy and pain, loss and gain it brings.