I am not sad to see this year end. Quite frankly, it hasn’t been our best. It has been a year of losses, great uncertainty, and many sleepless nights. 2006 was marked by a great sadness that made us both feel as if we were perpetually draped in a very heavy, very wet, very cold blanket we couldn’t remove or shake off. The year began well enough, with our dream of a family budding inside of me. We were all smiles and breathlessness with the magic that was our lives- and the magic of new life.
But 2006 had it in for us, that bastard.
It was 12 months of bitter heartache, watching one thing after another crumble in our very hands. Aside from the baby’s death, most of our troubles wouldn’t have been all that maddening… if they had come in 2005. But under the weight of Cecilia’s stillbirth, the world seemed a much more bleak and vicious place. Sadness gave way to frustration, frustration gave way to anger, anger gave way to exhaustion. When you are grieving, it consumes all that you are and all you have to give. And you cannot fathom how anyone would dare to trouble you with the insignificant little details of living when you are so clearly completely eaten up with your loss. There is not room in your heart or head for anything else. Even those of the most patient and forgiving nature can be sickened into irritable, short-fused ogres by the poison of their grief. So it was with us- two of the most positive, kind souls turned angry and bitterly antisocial.
But we humans are amazingly resilient creatures. Slowly but surely, we’ve begun the long journey out of the grief and torment of this nightmarish year. There have been setbacks- the recent loss of a four-legged friend made us wonder if we were really ever going to be ok. And the truth is that we very likely won’t be “ok” ever again- at least not in the way we knew before 2006. But you learn to redefine ok. You learn to accept that losing a child plunges you into abject darkness, and that even when you emerge from the darkness, your baby’s death ultimately casts a shadow you will never entirely escape. But you do come out into the light and warmth of things like your marriage, your family, your friends, your own health, the promise of another child. That first baby (and that shadow) will forever be with you. But you learn to love the shadow for what it is- the cool comfort of the memories of your baby’s short life. The trick is just not to linger in the shadow for too long.
So here are my resolutions.
2007 will not suck the life out of me the way 2006 did.
I will live much more in the light now that I can. I will return to the shadow occasionally, to be with my little girl when I need to, but I will always keep one toe out in the light. I will be grateful for the beautiful soul of a man that is Husband. I will love him and our families and myself more completely and without the hesitance that grief has tried to impose on me. I will not be afraid of loss anymore.
There. It is so resolved.
Because it’s that easy.
Of course not.
But hey, I’ve got all year to try, right?