The wind screams and it jolts me awake because I’m sure it was a person calling out. It whips around my house, over the roof, and I imagine a tree falling on the house. Then I picture the outside of the house and there are no trees right nearby and I don’t worry anymore.
But I lay there awake. Listening to my kid’s raspy breathing from a chest cold. Listening to our cat purring. So happy we are home.
I haven’t slept enough as the years changed but I can’t go back so I get up. I get up and go into the wind, like I once went into the rain. It’s morning but it’s still night and I see the stars and I hear the quiet and I feel the cold, cold air kissing my cheeks and hands. Making me feel alive again. Sometimes we need the elements to wake us up. To remind us. “Here I am” in this cold, in this rain, in this discomfort, exposed.
It’s the new year. I feel better. But I hear from the newly bereaved. And, shit, even the seasoned bereaved. And they are hurting. And I want so much more than “Happy New Year”, more than “May all your dreams come true this year”, more than toasts to the best year yet. I want more than hope, more than possibility, more than the first page of a 365 page book where we’re inscented to write out story just the way we want it to be.
I want every hurting heart to be matched. I want those for which 2015 was nothing but a living nightmare to know that it’s entirely possible that 2016 is also going to suck because they are in the rubble. I want to acknowledge the rubble. I want to say “it’s the new year. Best of luck this time around the sun.” I want texts sent like the one I just got from my step mother: “now onto a new year of experiences.”
I want to acknowledge that things fall apart. That babies die and houses foreclose and hearts are broken and jobs are lost and disease strikes. Just as sure as new love is found, kindness is received, joy is reveled in and lived are transformed for the better.
It’s a detriment, always trying to be happy or get to happy. It makes the hard times harder because we’re supposed to be happy and grateful and find the silver lining.
I want to learn to accept it all. To push on with appreciation that the wind is blowing and the rains come and the clouds cover. To step out into a day with the sun shining and the birds chirping and the flowers blooming. To let the days that are foggy and gray and not too cold just be what they are. There is so little that we can change, so little that we control. It’s fine to believe that we can change things, control things, make things happen, write a new 365 page book, even create our own realities. It’s fine. Until your world crashes down on you, as worlds are wont to do. I was hospitalized as a young teen for depression and repressed suicide attempts. On the day of my release, one of the nurses sat with me in my room and asked me to look him in the eyes, something that was exceedingly hard to do when your trying so hard to hide away. He said “Monica, it sounds like you are expecting the worst but hoping for the best and that’s no way to live.” I thought that was a good plan and I’ve mulled that over for two decades now. I still don’t understand why it’s not a good plan. Terrible shit happens, it happened to me, but I hope for the best anyway. I don’t rose colored glasses, I want clear lenses to see through. I want to see the reality that some of the beauty of life is exactly that we don’t have control, that our reality just happens and what we can create from it is meaning. I can choose the meaning I that I live in a cold cruel universe in which babies just die for no known reason, and if we know the reason it doesn’t make a stitch of difference to the parents. And it’s fucking true. This is a fact. I can choose the meaning that just because this is true it doesn’t mean that I have to die from my loss or live the rest of days bitter and angry and broken and sad. I can choose the meaning that somehow, despite the uncaring natural order of things, I can live fully, search for joy until I find it again, feel the undeterred human spirit that pushes on no matter what. I choose to make meaning. I choose to let the meaning I’ve created about the same story, the same circumstance, change over time. I want to let my life unfold, out of control and also choosing.
I want this year, for all of us to be more “fuck yeah” than “fuck this” and if it’s not, I want someone to sit next to me and say “this fucking sucks” and I’ll cry or scream or feel defeated and say “it sure does.” And then, for now, that will be story, that will be the meaning, and that is enough. Silverliningless, just shitty, and sucky and not what I planned or chose or created. Just wind blowing and rain falling and clouds covering. No need for sunshine and rainbows just yet. There will be a time for all of that, too.
So, here’s to New year full of new experiences. May it be awesome and when it’s not, may someone sit by your side and let it rain.