January 1, 2022
It’s been a long time since I picked up my digital pen to write a post for this grief blog. It certainly isn’t because life is now all kittens and yarn (for any of us!) but mostly because I had lost my thread. Of yarn? More like some prickly, slightly abrasive twine! Now retired, I feel compelled to pick it up again to share thoughts on this complicated and sometimes puzzling journey.
As we kick 2021 out the door and try desperately to bar the windows, many of us look at this freshly minted New Year as another opportunity, another chance to do (or feel) better. I am also cautiously hopeful.
And although the rough barbs of grief have blessedly dulled over the past five years, the nubs still catch occasionally on my pantlegs.
Moving to Virginia more than two years ago was my way of trying to jumpstart a fresh life. It has helped in many ways. I am not surrounded by the tangible memories that my husband and I had built together, and now live closer to my siblings. But I’m self-aware enough to know you can’t shut out feelings like some sort of religious zealot knocking on the door with handfuls of gospel tracts.
A very wise and helpful friend of mine once shared a mantra she espouses to help get through her days, and I have tried my best to adopt it.
“Before you go to bed, think of three things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. They do not have to be big things. Then, when you wake up, say to God or to the universe, “Help me, help me, help me.”
So, I attempt to do this when I am mindful. Last night as I headed to bed well before the finale of New Year’s Eve, I lay in bed and thought, “I have a nice home. I took a walk today with family and friends in the sunshine. My thumbs (in the early stages of arthritis) are not bothering me.”
I woke quite early today to rain pelting the window nearest my bed. I had left it cracked open since it’s been so unseasonably warm in Virginia this December. I listened to the water hitting the panes for a long time and soon joined along with my own slow-moving waterworks, keenly missing my husband’s warm presence still. But then I wiped the tears away and mentally hoisted up my big girl pants to complete the other half of the mantra. Given the day, they could also be construed as resolutions, but what is there to lose?
“Help me to be a better person. Help me to embrace life, instead of approaching it as something to be endured. Help me get through this new year feeling more grateful for what I have instead of dwelling on what I have lost.”