Three years ago I spent New Year's Eve in contemplation. It was one of the first times I embraced that it wasn't necessary to be happy happy joy joy in a group setting, and I was thinking about my grandmother.
She had been diagnosed with cancer, and no one expected her to live much longer. Months. We hadn't given up on her, but I still knew the loss would be coming, and I didn't know what to do with it or how to handle it. I loved my grandmother, but we never particularly got along. We tried, and we both ended up rubbing the other the wrong way, and after a while neither of us knew how to make amends or try again. It's not that we couldn't do things together at all, we just didn't know how to get to know each other deeper.
And that was a loss.
So on New Year's Eve, late at night, a friend showed a video of a song he loved. It's a good song, and I say now it's a good video. At the time, though, I couldn't watch it without aching and wanting for all the world to cry, tears streaming right there unashamedly and uncontested.
But I don't show "negative" emotions well. At the time it was a stretch for me to curl up on the oversized armchair, chin and arm draped low on the armrest, and ponder life while friends around me continued on unaffected. It was a challenge for me to go to the other room which was dark and empty, cradled by the gaming rocker, and let the pent up aches and emptiness of pending loss seep out my skin and trickle down my face in silence.
I knew I wouldn't be found. I knew my emotions wouldn't change the atmosphere. I knew I wouldn't be comforted.
In a way, I didn't want to be. Because sometimes when comfort is offered it's like a stopper to the raw feelings that desperately need poured out. I need space to ooze, even melt a little, and I don't like dripping on other people, so I close up the window in my wall around me, the window I sometimes open to let the inside air out. It's one-way and it's not a door. I can open it out, but no one can come in. Even with a passing, kind observer, I'm tempted to pull the curtain down so nothing inside can be even seen.
That New Year's Eve I embraced the season of ending that filled my life. I mourned. I stayed quiet. And I cried. I also rose, joined in partaking the sparkling juice, and cheerfully enough wished everyone a happy new year ahead. All the while knowing pain was coming my way.
This New Year's Eve I have realized I'm in another kind of season of endings. Since the past six or so months, I've said goodbyes and until-next-times with nearly everyone I know. I left one place, what had been my world, and came to visit another, finding ways to slowly integrate and learn the local happenings of life and make friendships. But I'm still in the season of ending. I'm still thinking of my home, still wondering if I could make this new place my home, still yearning to find my heart home.
This new year that is upon us will greet some of us like a new puppy, bubbling over with delight and readiness, some of us like a slow grave digger, with reminders of what was and will forever be changed, things that are forever beyond our reach now, and some of us like something inbetween.
This eve, I'm in another season of ending, and I don't feel like celebrating. I feel like pondering, sitting in that poofy armchair, and finding a safe place to cry if the tears will come.
But this time there is no party to seek solace from, no group of friends around when I'm ready to join the crowd again and celebrate.
This time I'm marking the change in the calendar with little more than I give any other day. And that is another part in my season of endings. The friendships aren't gone, but for now, the reach is a lot harder, the rooms a lot farther.
So long, 2013.