Saturday, December 24, 2016

Goodbye to 2016

A year is only defined by the changing seasons and numbers on a calendar, but God must have known that we needed to start things over once in a while.   As a teacher the end of August brought fresh hope for a better school year than the last. We had packed up the old year in all of our classrooms and then in two months time reopened them in anticipation. As 2016 closes I am happy to look on the number 2017 as a new start in my life even though it is only one day passing to the next.

In the past two years I have lost my father and my mother. They lived full and long lives, but sometimes that makes their absence even more painful. They were the two people in the world who were the happiest to see me when I walked through their door. No one will love me like that again. I know that now. It is a life-changing realization.

I spent most of this year dealing with their home and the possessions and memories of over sixty years—the only place that was truly home for me.  I had to empty it of every tangible item and relive my life and theirs along with each discovery.  I read their love letters. I found all my cards and letters to them. It was at once excruciating and also comforting.  I sorrowfully had to sell the home to a new young family—only the second family to ever live there. I feel unnaturally attached to them as I dream about their little boys playing in the same yard I did.

One year ago today my mother was in a rehabilitation facility—a place I despise with all my heart for its loneliness, boredom and isolation. She had clearly lost her will to live since my father had died one year before. To remember last Christmas is reliving a nightmare.  In two weeks time she would have a massive stroke and a week after that we would bring her home and wait for six days for her to die in her living room, not really sure if she knew she was there or not. It was not a peaceful ending to a well-lived life. 

All the formalities are complete; the graves, the memorial services, the sale of the house, the bills, the matters of the estate. Suddenly, I am left with a life bereft of the caregiving responsibilities. But not really....

In the month of May a new person was born to fill my heart with love. My second grandson. Two beloveds are gone and two have come from heaven to bring light back into my life. This is life. So in 2017 I will embrace the new hope that God has sent me and I will honor and treasure the losses of the past as we all must do.

Happy New Year

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