This year there was no celebrating for me at the dawn of 2009. I am not interested in what this year has to offer. I want time to stop. I want to stay right where I was over the last month. Safe with my family together. Happy. Healthy. But, as every Trekky knows, resistance is futile. So 2009 pulled me in kicking and screaming.
Every year I have seen the birth of a new year as a beginning – a clean slate. I look forward to the journey ahead and the changes and challenges this new year has to offer. Not so 2009. I don’t want to look too closely at you. I don’t want to peer too far ahead. I am suspicious of you from the onset. I am afraid that what you have in store for me and those I love is frightening and sad and lonely. As the minutes ticked away and the countdown began I started to panic. You were coming too soon. I longed to hold on and slow things down. To go back to a time when, naively, all I saw was hope and opportunity on the eve of a new year.
They took my mom off the chemotherapy. It wasn’t working. Her cancer has continued to grow. So now we face this reality. We cling to each other. We love and we go on living. Because, as hard as it is and as much as we hate it, this is part of our journey. So, 2009, even though you scare me, I am determined to face you head on not missing a single, solitary second you offer us.
As my sister, Allyson, a Palliative Care Nurse, wrote so eloquently a few years ago in her post In The Process of Dying, There is Living:
…in all the sadness that it represents it holds the most beautiful and
precious times you may ever experience with another person. People
want to hide from the fact that people die but they forget that in the
process of dying, those individuals are living. Those moments are
filled with reflections of their happiest memories and funniest
stories, their hopes for their loved ones’ futures. Those moments are
holding that person’s hand and feeling that you couldn’t be closer with
them. They are moments of honesty about life that we usually brush
aside. They are dignity and fear, they are laughter and trials.