Friday, January 1, 2010

New Beginnings?

New Year's Eve. The cleaning lady and I were the last ones in the building. I had finished working out, figuring that everyone else would beat a hasty retreat home or on to various parties and I could use the exercise room with no fear of company. She and I nodded to one another as we passed, I wished her a Happy New Year and left her to walk alone to my car. She seemed a bit wistful, cleaning that big empty space all by herself on a night where she knows its daily occupants are off to happier pursuits. I was equally demure, walking off to my car alone. As I drove off, I was greeted by the platinum colored full moon hanging heavy in the charcoal sky as a dusting of clouds lazily traveled across its horizon. I thought that Nature had certainly given this part of the world a beautiful night to send the decade out. But my husband and I had no plans to join the moon and its fellow revelers to celebrate the evening. Greg was never one for a joining a crowd on a night like New Year's Eve. I would be open to it under different circumstances, but this was a unique year. This was an evening to reflect on the past year, not celebrate it and welcome the new one. I could have never imagined, this time last year, exactly how life would test me in the twelve months to come. I hope never to be challenged to that extent again. I know that others have endured more. I know there are places torn by war and poverty where women are subjugated and have suffered more than I can even begin to imagine. But, for all of that, I have to say, I still think this has been one lousy year capping off one long, hard decade. I am glad to see it behind me. Yet, for all of that, driving home doused in the light of that cold moon, I was pensive. For some reason it seemed to be a betrayal to think that I would welcome in a new decade in a few hours when my child was not there to see it with me.

I finally decided that someone in my situation is like a mental amputee. We have lost a limb. We may learn to function without that limb, but we are forever altered. Life is forever altered. I think there was some sort of vague hope that I held over the last six months that I would rediscover myself and my life. Finally, I realize, that while I might reconcile how to live with myself in a new way, the "me" I was hoping to get back is gone irretrievably.

While we didn't discuss it, I could tell something was weighing on Greg during the course of the evening as well. I wondered if he felt the same things. Or, if like he often does, he just missed his daughter. Whatever the case, we passed a quiet last night of the decade, not saying much, just watching movies, finally dozing off to the Thin Man marathon on TCM before midnight even struck.

Today, I watched football (congratulations Joe Pa and the Nittany Lions) while I packed away the Christmas decorations, as I have done every New Year's Day for as long as I can remember. The new decade began in routine fashion, but I wasn't fooled. There is nothing routine about my life right now. I am still learning to function without my missing limb.

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