I roll over and look at the clock. It’s 4:31AM, New Year’s Eve, and I can’t sleep.
Since Julia left us, I haven’t really celebrated the new year. They just don’t have the same sparkle as they did when she was here. I manage to get through each New Year’s Eve, robotically going through the motions. But in reality, I just want to curl up in bed and wake up on January 2.
I have dreaded the holidays approaching for the last six years. At first it was because I didn’t know how I would get through the day without Julia by my side. But I have found that whether I like it or not, life goes on. It has been a hard lesson to learn.
I vaguely remember the start of 2010. It was all a blur. Julia had been diagnosed a few weeks earlier and we were still in a fog, trying to process everything that had just happened. All I remember is holding Julia in my arms as we both fell asleep.
This past decade has brought too many tears. Far too many nights I have gone to sleep with empty arms and a broken heart. I am so ready to say good riddance to the 2010s!
As I laid in bed this morning trying to fall back to sleep, I began to think back on these last ten years. My mind wanders back to one evening with Julia. We just found out that she had relapsed, and we were waiting for her to have an MRI. Julia and I were outside in the hallway talking and she turned to me to say remember that “today is a gift and if you keep worrying about the future, you will miss everything in the present.” Julia went on to tell me to be happy and thankful for today.
Funny how of all the memories to think about, I go to that moment. Even in this early morning fog, Julia’s message comes to me - Remember each day is a gift, be grateful for it, and celebrate everything it gives to you.
I started to think of the moments of happiness that have also defined this decade - a wedding, college graduation, vacations. Yes, even with this pain and grief, we have things to be grateful for and to be happy about. Julia was right.
“But there’s more” … I can hear Julia’s sweet voice pushing me further in this review of the last ten years. Yes, there is more. There is gratefulness and joy in all the people we have met, friends we have made, and the community that surrounds us – all as a result of our little girl and her short journey in this world.
So tonight, I face the new year and this new decade a bit differently. Make no mistake, I am still glad to see the 2010’s end. It is a decade which has been so hard and so painful. But it has also been a decade of great love.
I will always have a heavy heart and miss “my best girl”, but tonight I will also celebrate. It is the Yin and Yang of the new year. I will be happy in today, be grateful for all the gifts of the past, and look with joy to the future.
Happy New Year. Hug your loved ones and remember today is a gift, be grateful for it, and celebrate the Yin and the Yang.