I’ve always been a party person on New Year’s Eve. When I was in high school, I threw the party that all my friends came to. It was a highlight of my year to plan a party and see everyone enjoy the games I set up and the food I prepared. People talked about the party for weeks afterward. I loved it. Last year I went to a party at my friend’s church that lasted all night and into the morning. It was amazing, but that night also did some things to me that I didn’t expect.
Earlier in 2015, my Gigi (great grandma) passed away. Up until about seven months before her passing, I wasn’t very close to her. I grew up visiting her about once a month, but there was never much to do at her house. We would visit, do her shopping, clean up her home a bit. There wasn’t much in being there that drew me close to her. In the fall of 2014, she fell in her home. She was 93 and living on her own, so after that incident, we finally convinced her to come live with my family. She stayed with us for seven months before she passed away in our home. It was expected. We were ready. I even held her hand. We were already planning aspects of her funeral before she had passed. I grieved with my family when she did die in June of 2015. It was a normal process, all of us were influenced. But the full weight of her passing’s influence on me didn’t hit me until about 2 minutes before 2016. As we ushered in the new year, I felt all of the turmoil and burdens of the past year slipping through my fingers. And suddenly, I didn’t want them gone. So I spent the last minutes of 2015 and the first of 2016 crying, wondering why I was so scared. Only seven months of my life had been defined by my role as caretaker of my Gigi, but in those seven months I became myself. I grew up. I found my faith. And then the new year came and tried to sweep it all under the rug.
Last New Year was strange for me. It was a party, but it was a funeral too. I had to let go of my attachment to my label as caretaker and learn to hold on to who I had become because of it. That midnight was one of the times I felt closest to God, and it set up some interesting background for these next few hours of 2016 and 2017.
I’m spending this New Year’s Eve on the beach. I’ll be watching fireworks from my towel sitting on the shifty sand of my favorite island. I’m happy. I’m stressed. I’m missing someone. I’m warm. And I feel like I’m right where God wants me. He is refreshing my mind to send me back home and into my life. He knew I was a little lost. A little cloudy. I just refused to acknowledge it. I don’t really make resolutions like most people do for the new year. But I’m always inspired to bring myself closer to who I am, which is what everyone else is trying to do with their resolutions anyway.
Happy New Year. I hope that it transforms every single one of you and that your respective masses are/were enlightening and lovely.
If you are a little bit interested in the period of my life right after my Gigi’s passing… Or maybe you relate or could use some guidance from someone who has been there? Here is a link to something a wrote shortly after she passed on my small, family blog.