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A New Year


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As you read this understand this will be a 2nd year without my partner.  

People will say have a happy or "better New year." 

I don't feel any of us new on this journey can claim the "happy" part of the Happy New Year.  While this sentiment is nice the reality is not easy.  For those beginning the first year without someone you love there will be no comfort in these generic holiday well wishes. 


This morning I find myself putting aside the whole idea of the new year being better.  I have been reflecting on what parts of my life of "after" can I make more gentle.

There isn't anything more that I would want then to have my life back as it was.  What I'm beginning to grasp and understand is that I can ask myself what do I want for myself in this coming year? Is there anything I can release and leave behind? Are there any changes I can make that might ease my load even if just slightly? Sometimes just asking these questions of myself helps something shift, even if just a bit. I'm going to allow myself to feel is there... a new sweetness? A new peace? A new excitement?  Shifting will happen. 

I believe beyond shared stories of what was... there is a beauty to sharing our hopes and intentions as well as what we wish to leave behind.  "Telling the truth, sharing our hopes and bearing witness to this is the best part of a grief community."  Not just a grief community but any community.  To the outside world my goals may look small. Turning toward goodness is a massive win! My thoughts and goals are very small compared to my previous lifetime of thoughts and goals as I once knew it. These I know will be painful steps but I'm going to take them in tiny increments as I reach for my dream of wholeness. That wholeness will be there full of all the love I will carry over and with me.  As I write this it is very difficult to imagine my life without Wayne. Wayne in his physical being is not here. What I had physically with Wayne is not here. Our plans no longer exist as Us.  I am now striving forward to gentleness in finding what I can enjoy. 

I found myself clinging to the 2018 calendar as I began to set up the 2019 calendar. The 2019 new year will be the 2nd full year without Wayne and the first full year without my mom.

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55 minutes ago, Sunflower2 said:

To the outside world my goals may look small. Turning toward goodness is a massive win! My thoughts and goals are very small compared to my previous lifetime of thoughts and goals as I once knew it. These I know will be painful steps but I'm going to take them in tiny increments as I reach for my dream of wholeness. That wholeness will be there full of all the love I will carry over and with me.

A couple of days ago a little girl I had not seen here before, wished me Merry Christmas as I was out walking Arlie.  She looked to be about eight or nine.  While it may not seem Merry to those of us missing the most important person in our life, just her even thinking of me, meant a lot to me.  A little girl I do not know making the effort to address an old lady she doesn't know?  That in itself is rare enough, but a small treasure in itself that I embraced.  New Year's has never been an important event to me.  I'm not a drinker or a partier, and I don't hold illusions for next year being much different than this year, if anything I'm leery of changes that come...the changes this year meant I lost my sister and came very very close to losing my other sister.  You almost feel like wondering what's next!  I have a friend with CHF that is not under control, will I lose him too?  My dog and cat are elderly, what's in store for them?  Not sure I want to know what 2019 holds, but I hope there's something good in it...for all of us.

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I am not looking forward to the New Year at all. I want to stay in 2018 forever since that is the last year that Bob was here physically with me. Yes, we can all carry them with us in our hearts and thoughts and memories and traditions and blah blah blah, but not having them PHYSICALLY here with us is painful. Talking to someone's photo is not the same as talking to them. Even when I go through the whole routine of telling myself that Bob has been released from suffering, he would not have wanted to be living in a nursing home, he had lost most of his quality of life and didn't enjoy even the tiny little things the he enjoyed so much in life - things as simple as having a cup of coffee - and that I'm trading my pain for his - all well and good and true, BUT that does NOT make missing him hurt any less. BUT - at some point, I MUST let go of the pain - keeping it and letting it control me and my emotions and my life is a CHOICE that I can make or not. Yes, there will be times when a wave of grief will just hit me - and I am learning how to just ride that out, get it over with and carry on. I am also learning that to leave the pain behind is NOT to leave the LOVE behind and I think a lot of people, perhaps especially women, tend to think that if they stop hurting, they will stop loving. That's just not true. Love is eternal. It is forever. It lives on even after the weak body has departed. 

I also am not much of a New Year reveler. Before I met Bob, there was so much pressure to have a date or go out with a boyfriend and it just always caused me anxiety - was THIS the year that I was going to get married? After I met Bob, we started going to our favorite restaurant, a Japanese restaurant in San Francisco - where we had our wedding reception - and have sushi and saki and then go home and watch TV and kiss each other for Happy New Year. After we started spending holidays in Mexico, we'd end up at our favorite beach bar for a big party there and they had fireworks - but the last couple of years that we were down there, we ended up just going to our favorite restaurant for dinner with friends, heading home around 10:00, and we'd sit in our living room and watch the fireworks across the bay instead of being in the middle of a bunch of drunken tourists and loud awful music and chaos. The last two years we have been here in Oceanside for New Year's Eve and just spent it together at home and had to wake each other up at midnight! I'm not planning on doing anything for New Year's Eve - I'll just stay home, watch the NYE special on NBC, and if I make it to midnight, I most likely will cry and if I don't make it to midnight, I most likely will cry - but I think planning on being sad helps sometimes. I am not looking forward to starting a New Year without Bob. I can barely make it through the first of each month, knowing that another month has come and gone and so has Bob. On October 1, I even wrote in my journal - Bob made it to another month. That was three days before he went up. I think we both knew that the inevitable was coming - we never talked about it much - but I think we both thought that we had at least another month or two or three before he was going to go - but that's another post/discussion for another time.

I too appreciate people taking the time to say/send/give me good wishes and if they are from a stranger or someone who doesn't know our situation - such as the cashier at the supermarket, who "knows" us from us being regulars and being in the store frequently - but when they say - have a good New Year or Happy New Year - they don't know - they are just being nice and we should never turn our back on someone being nice or kind to us. There is enough hatred and meanness in the world as it is. So as hard as it might be, just accept the wish with the kindness with which it is intended and try to pay it forward. Wishing someone else a Happy New Year - even if we don't necessarily believe that it will be - could be helping THEM out that day.

Maybe instead of saying Happy New Year - which right now, I honestly don't think I will have ever again - we might wish people - much peace in the New Year or Have a peaceful New Year. Right now, I think peace is the greatest gift that we can give to others - that and love. And I have been learning that showing and giving and sending love actually helps ME to feel better (and remember, it's all about ME! :) )

So, I wish all of you reading this a New Year full of peace, love and whatever joy you can find or is sent to you. There still IS joy in the world and it is perfectly ok for us to have it, accept it, find it, even seek it. Happiness is relative any way - what one person thinks defines happiness could be hell for another. 

My uncle had a print that he glued onto a piece of driftwood that hung in the lanai of his house in Florida - I have it now (in a box in the storage unit) but I have memorized it:

Not in possessions

Not in gold

The feeling of happiness

Dwells in the soul.

That's from Democritus, who lived from about 460 - 370 BCE.

I hope that each of you can find some happiness in your memories and love and know that your loved one would want you to be "happy" not sad. I know that is what Bob wants for me. Try to find a little piece of happiness every day. It can be something simple - a piece of chocolate. It can be hugging your dog or cat or a friend. It can be making it through just one hour without crying or remembering that you are hurting so much inside. And remember, it's OK to be happy. That doesn't mean that we don't care and we don't love any more. It means that the love that we carry inside us is carrying us along on this horrible journey that none of us have asked to be on.

much love and peace to all of you.

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You are right on all counts, Sunshine.  I remember that first New Year, I didn't want to move out of 2005 because George had never seen 2006.  I know it's just a date, I know nothing changed from one day to the next, but still...

And you're right, we can console ourselves with the fact that they're not suffering, we can be noble and take the pain on ourselves in their place, but when all is said and done, that doesn't diminish our pain.  We go through every ounce of our pain in a suffering and grueling way and it feels relentless.  And I can tell you that it'll diminish in time but that doesn't help you in the here and now, nor does it alleviate our future pain, a certain amount of which we will go through each and every day of our lives.  We learn to do it is all.

And you are so right about it's okay to be happy, even if just for a moment.  I have my dark places, but I have my momentary times of peace and happiness too.

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