Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Gentle Happy New Year

I remember my first New Year's Eve without Jeff. I was doing okay until about 8:50 (yes, I remember it that vividly) when I started crying and didn't stop for two hours. I realized that the year 2000 was going to be the first year that I wouldn't have Jeff at all. I'm sure that many of you experienced something similar for the first time last night. It's okay. I know how you feel facing a new year without your loved one. In plain English, it sucks.

For me, that New Year's Eve was 1999. Last night was 2007's New Year's Eve and I'm still here. I think about Jeff for a little while every day (I always say he's my guardian angel guiding me) but I didn't cry last night (although I did cry a few weeks ago so I still do have my moments). Instead I ate way too much spinach/artichoke/cheese dip, but I still don't do much on New Year's Eve. The weather was iffy here (upstate New York) and my 10-year-old still doesn't make it to midnight easily. We almost spent $75 to participate in our local bowling alley's bash, but decided not too because I didn't think she'd make it. I was right. She started rubbing her eyes at 8:30 pm. So we played a game, Life Twists and Turns, and I lost :). We cuddled and watched Ryan Seacrest's New Year's Eve party and fell asleep soon after.

My 15-year-old stayed over at her friend's house last night and I missed her. I enjoyed my night though even though I did it without all the bells and whistles. I watched "Must Love Dogs" with John Cusack (insert big crush here), ate, played with my kids, texted and emailed my friends and thought about what I want out of the new year.

For many of you who are early in your grief, I wish you the strength and support to make it through this year, taking it one day at a time. Do what you can, ask for help when you need to and take care of yourself. And, remember, while you experience your grief and your pain, it's okay to smile and laugh.

For those who have been on this journey with me for a little while, I wish you the strength to continue and the courage to look for the positive in your life and to try new things.

That leads me to what my so-called resolutions will be this year. I have several things I want to do this year, but the most important to mention here is that I want to try new things and step out of my box. For me, that doesn't mean skydiving, but it does mean traveling a bit more. I lost my dad when I was six and mom didn't travel much. To this day, she still isn't much of a traveler (of course, living on a fixed income can prevent that) but even if it's just a local trip, I want to get out more and do new things. I have a tendency to find a routine and stay with it. We always see movies -- movie theaters are my favorite place to be -- but there is so much more to do. This year my #1 life change is to get out more. So I'm going to take Sunday drives, find a quaint mom and pop shop and experience more local flavor. I'm also going to look into other things the kids and I can do. Of course, I'm not Rockefeller so I have to watch my pennies -- especially with a kid heading to college soon -- but I'm hoping to do this affordably too. Looking for specials, deals, free events. I'll keep you posted.

So, what "resolution" do you have? How did you spend New Year's Eve? And if you stayed home and did nothing, welcome to the club. Only ONE of my friends actually did something this year. Everyone else chose to chill out at home.

Until next time, remember you may be young, but you're not alone.


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