Last New Year’s Eve, in a quiet hospital hallway, the doctor told me our time was running out. There were no more chemo options, no surgery options – simply no more options. I swallowed my panic, wiped tears from my eyes, fought the highway in an icy snowstorm, and brought Kevin home to ring in a new year marked with uncertainty.
The doctor was right. Our time was short. Just a few months left to be together, to eat pizza and watch movies and sing “Don’t Stop Believin’” loudly in the car.
It’s been eight and a half months since Kevin died. And it’s New Year’s Eve and, once again, I’m facing a new year with uncertainty. I’ve felt a sadness lately, so heavy that my soul struggles under the weight of it, a storm of grief raining hard, bruising the fragile petals of hope that were trying to grow. It’s a sadness more aching than the sharp loss my heart felt in April, when in one moment I had everything and in the next…everything I knew was gone. Tick. He’s here, holding my hand. Tock. He slipped away.
I’m forlorn because when midnight comes tonight, my last year with Kevin will be gone. We ran out of time. This is the last year that we lived and made memories and dreamed of our future. This is the last year I was married to the one my soul loves, the last year he called me Baby Doll, the last year we smiled indulgently at our little Bear on her birthday. It doesn’t feel like a fresh start; it feels like another loss.
This has been the hardest year of my life, but I’m not ready to let it go.
My beautiful girl, she’s looking forward to 2014. She is totally fascinated that the smallest movement of the second hand on the clock, that one small tick at midnight, sets a whole new year in motion. Tick. It’s 2013. Tock. It’s a new year. She knows how much life can change in a second, but she’s still full of plans and hopes and dreams and that’s exactly right. She should be. She calls herself the “Accomplish-Maker” and for good reason – she can make things happen. She smiles…and the day is happy. She imagines…and the world is a better place. She sees a whole new year full of possibilities and aims to fill every blank space on her calendar with joy. She wants to celebrate and eat chocolate-covered strawberries and dance at midnight. She wants to stay up all night and watch movies and wear a battered, silver, tinsel-trimmed party hat because Daddy got it for her a few New Year’s Eves ago.
I watch her make plans and write lists and glow with energy and excitement and even though I’m not ready for it, and I don’t know what will happen in 2014, I know one thing:
There will be love and joy and hope.
My girl is full of it and she willingly shares it with me every day. She knows I am sad and grieving, but she helps me laugh and heal and I squeeze her close until hope fills our hug. I think she feels it a little, too – a hesitation about this odd, uncharted place, this new year we’re going to when the clocks chime midnight. Our grief and sadness at losing Kevin, our favorite guy in the whole world, will not dissipate with a new year. But also, our memories will not evaporate and our love for him will not vanish just because the calendar changed. Time cannot take that away. I’m reluctant to leave 2013, but I know Kevin will always be with me, no matter what year it is. He’s in me, and he’s most definitely in our girl. And she and I – well, together, we’ll hold hands, and our broken hearts, and we will fill the blank spaces of our new year with time together, with crazy adventures and quiet afternoons and we will remember Daddy and giggle and cry and make sure he’s along for the ride.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13