The following post is from last year at this time. That joyous, pineapple martini New Year’s Eve seems so far away, like a fragment of a dream remembered upon awakening. Two years ago we sat in our home, the first night of Shiva, with our friends and family, bewildered, our lives shattered in an instant. New Year’s Eve forever altered. Stripped of its anticipatory promise for a new beginning, for great things to come in the year ahead. Now simply one more holiday to grind through, made all the more terrible by the memory of what we were doing on the last of December in 2013.
As always, my thoughts go back to a December 15 years ago. We wanted to do something memorable at the turn of the millennium, so we packed our bags and jetted off on an impromptu trip to Arizona. Jake was 10. T and Jake had never seen the Grand Canyon, so we flew into Phoenix, hired a car and drove to the South Rim, arriving after dark. The next morning revealed the awe-inspiring view of one of Earth’s true wonders. We hiked a few hundred yards down the Bright Angel Trail to get the sense of what it is like in the canyon. The perspective changes immediately once you get a few feet below the rim. You truly get the sense of being inside the Earth. After returning to the surface, we drove along the rim, stopping for a picnic lunch at one of the many continually changing vistas with the magnificent layer cake of the planet on full display.
We then headed south on a whirlwind drive to Tucson to visit one of my dearest and longest time friends. I have known S. since second grade and it is a miracle of life that we remain in touch and friends to this day. We had a lovely few days in Tucson and at midnight on December 31, headed out into the street to bang on pots and pans to welcome in the New Year. It was one of those purely exultant times, together as a family.
Now our celebrations are muted. Not so much celebrations as the turning of the calendar page. It is all so arbitrary. December, January, July, September, what’s the difference? What promise can a new year hold for me now? Another 365 days without my precious son. Revelry replaced by Resignation. Anticipation replaced by Indifference. If this sounds rather bleak, well, it is. Just part of my “new normal”.
This year, my wish remains the same for all the weary travelers as last year – may you find those islands of peace in this storm-tossed sea upon which we now sail. So on we go, down the River of Tears, across the Ocean of Heartbreak. Landfall and safe haven are a long ways off, shrouded by the mist of days to come. Perhaps the bleakness will subside a bit, we can only know how this new year turnes out next December 31.