As I write this post, it’s freezing cold where I live. It’s the kind of cold that slices through you. The kind that makes it hard to breath because the air is so icy it feels like it’s burning your lungs as you inhale. And yet, it’s also been sunny all day. As I look outside the sun is casting long afternoon shadows across the trees, and if I didn’t know better, I could easily be lulled into thinking it was a much warmer day than it actually is.
Have you ever had days like that? Where you can’t tell what the temperature is really like until you step outside?
My life has many days that are similar to that. I may seem sunny and bright to a passerby, but internally my heart can feel frozen. It’s conceivable to feel fixed in time, seized in pain and it can also feel stuck – making me feel suspended between the past and the future. And on certain days, those feelings are more prevalent. New Year’s Eve is one of those ‘frozen’ days for me. I look at the past and see what was, I look at the present and see what is, and I still hope for the future and what can be.
I miss Greg, and even more so in 2018. Our son will welcome a baby girl into the world in February and our daughter will be a most beautiful and shinning bride in May, and he won’t be here to share in either of those events – and neither will Don. And that hurts. I miss the traditions I shared with each of my husbands and the laughs that no one else understood. But I also dream about the future, and that’s when I find myself stuck. Aching for what was, and hoping for what might be. And New Year’ Eve brings out the eternal romantic in me. I firmly believe that on New Year’s Eve, you should have someone standing right beside you – someone who makes your heart stir and your head spin – and at the exact stroke of midnight – you should be able to turn to one another, smile, close your eyes and kiss each other with a tenderness that conveys a genuine, “I love you” and also with a longing that says, “I want to spend the rest of my life kissing you every single New Year’s Eve” (I’m a sucker for a good love story). I’ve had those type of New Year’s Eve most of my adult life, and I am blessed to have those memories. But I desire to have them again…I have a longing in my heart for something wonderful. Something that is better than anything I’ve had before (and that’s a big expectation!) As I looked back at this day a year ago, I can see how far I have come, and how much my heart has expanded – and that my thawing has begun.
Last New Year’s Eve I made the following post on FB….
“It’s hard to close the year out knowing Don won’t be here to kiss at midnight or to celebrate in this new year (and the ones to come), on earth – with me and all those he loved and treasured. But I know heaven is timeless and one day we will be together again. Until that day, I’ll go forward drawing from the wisdom, life lessons and love he shared with me. So even though he isn’t present in all the new memories I make, his presence will always be with me. My picture represents the past, the present and the future – and the mix of joy and sorrow and elation and heartbreak and overwhelming loss – while still anticipating a future where my heart will smile and laugh again.”
What really stood out as I re-read that post was the line that said, “…. while still anticipating a future where my heart will smile and laugh again”. And I grinned…because while I don’t know what the future holds, I find myself focusing on it more and more as each day passes. I’ve come to the place where thinking about the future doesn’t terrify me or hold me in a prison of tears and heartache, like it has in the past year(s). And as I ponder my future I find myself smiling more than crying, anticipating instead of being afraid, and ready instead of hesitant.
I know I’m healing because when I think about loving again, I don’t feel sick inside. I’m ok. I’m willing to risk, and to be hurt. I still intensely love and miss both Don and Greg, but I know that I desire to love in a deep and profound way – the way I have in the past. To experience knowing that there is someone who will always be there when I need them, and even when I don’t. To be with that person who smiles at just the mention of my name, and who’s look can make my heart leap, and whose kiss can make my entire body feel like’s it on fire. I want someone who will pray with and for me. Someone who holds my heart within their own and will guard and protect it at all cost.
I want the person I can stand with at Midnight on the 31st of each December, and kiss in that same kind of way that only people deeply in love understand. I’ve not ‘gotten over my losses’ (you never get over them), but you are able to move forward with less pain on a daily basis, and I’m finally at a place where I can unashamedly anticipate my tomorrows. That is my heart thawing. That is my heart softening at the edges and the fear melting away. That is my heart making room for a future that includes many wonderful things, and an all-encompassing love is one of them.
So, as I said goodbye to 2017 – which was my year of ‘firsts’ without Don, and look towards 2018, I do it with a heart that is joyful for what this year will bring.
I know it won’t be perfect. I know I will experience great days – euphoric days – but I will also have some very dark and heavy days as well. And to be honest, sometimes, they will be the same day.
When my son holds his daughter for the first time and when my daughter walks down the aisle – I will be overcome with both elation and gratitude as well as profound and resonate grief. My heart will be more ecstatic than ever before, and yet, it will also be splintered into a thousand tiny aching pieces all over again.
But this is life. It’s messy. It’s complicated. It’s not stagnant, and I have to choose daily, whether I will live in the past, or whether I will lovingly and respectfully honor the past, by fully living and being present in each tomorrow I am given.
I choose the later.
So, welcome 2018….and all the changes that will come. The laughter and fun – the tears and sorrows – the uncertainties and the absolutes. I will be there for them all – and I will continue to share my journey with those of you who desire to follow along with me.
To those of you who are hurting in the deepest part of your soul, may you find peace in the midst of heartache and find a way to look forward (not as to anticipate) but to a time where your heart will smile and laugh again…. I promise it will come….in time. And when those days occur, it doesn’t mean you don’t still hurt or grieve. It doesn’t mean that you don’t ache for what was. What is does mean, is that at one time your life was exquisite, and while it may not ever look or feel exactly the same, it doesn’t have to be horrendous either. To hope for grand days and beautiful moments, just means that you have found a way to carry all the rich love you’ve shared, into your future. The person who is gone, will always be a part of you….so let the best of them shine through you – as you bravely move into this new year and the ones to come.
Happy New Year my friends,
With Much Love,