I love school with my whole heart– I do– and I love learning (which are not always as hand-in-hand as they should be). But I am most CREATIVE when I’m not there. I get my most creative ideas doing simple things. Driving, showering, just being. Times when my mind can wander. Mundane things. Repetitive tasks. Just like The Artist’s Way teaches. This vacation has given me time so far to sing, read, cook, and plan. And today, on the last day of 2012, with my bread in the oven and my ingredients for Cream of Tomato soup sit on the table, I can reflect on the year– and prepare my heart for the next one.
2012 has been a weird year. There were serious ups and serious downs. I lost my grandmother and continued to grieve for Deda. I got into grad school. Another hurricane rocked this island– and my family. I made unexpected friends. I lost friends for reasons still unknown to me. I drew closer to God. I had a rocky year in my romantic life (Grad school is not really great on relationships). I got my own apartment. It’s been a year of great growth, and deep loss. I cannot wait to leave 2012 behind. I love where I am now. I love school. I love knowing that I’m on the right path– I can feel it with every cell. But the pain 2012 brought was too great. And in the joyous moments, there was pain in knowing that they couldn’t be shared with everyone who was important to me. I’m still waiting for God to redeem and revive those parts. Because it doesn’t seem possible for life to get better. My life is now without Grandma and Deda– surely “the best year of my life” must be one of my first 25. One of the ones they were here for. It seems impossible that “the best is yet to come.” It is hard to admit that, but even harder to believe that the best year of my life can possibly happen without them here.
It feels wrong. Wrong to wish 2012 away. My grandmother is still in 2012 (or is she?). Deda died when it was still 2011. Wishing in 2013 feels like pushing him further away, putting distance between us. There’s an inkling of guilt in a New Year when you’re grieving.
But I’m excited about 2013. And I think my grandparents would’ve been too. And after the pain of 2012, they would want better days to come. Not in the way people say “he would have wanted it this way” or “she would want me to do this,” just to make themselves feel better, but I can say that because i know my grandparents loved me. And they were full of common sense and feisty spirits. And humor. And warmth. And when a bad thing happened, they moved through it. With strength, and dignity, and grace. Because my grandparents were of the generation of respect and good manners. And they loved being around people. And they welcomed the new. Deda liked using his cell phone. And grandma liked funny stories and jokes that Mommy would bring over to her, things that she had found online. They welcomed new people– of all different cultures. They welcomed technology. And they were smart enough, and strong enough, to leave things behind, too. Whenever there was an event and you were waiting to hear back RSVPs, and someone wasn’t responding, Grandma’s mother used to say, “they do you one favor if they come, they do you two favors if they don’t.” I remember Grandma saying this at times. 2012 would have done me two favors if it hadn’t come at all. And I think Grandma and Deda would have totally understood that.
So I’m done with 2012. And I’m laying out a welcome mat for 2013. For fresh, new holidays and memories to be made. For New Year’s day. A bright new semester. For Valentine’s, and St. Patrick’s Day. For Easter and the Fourth of July. For Harvest and the Fall glow and Thanksgiving Dinner and trying to balance Advent with the Christmas rush. All in 2013. For all the birthdays, and babies, and weddings that will come this year. For new friends. For new opportunities. For kisses and laughter and the happy kind of tears. For many more miles on my VW Beetle. For assignments that keep me working into the night. For doctor’s appointments and grocery store trips. For the everyday. And I’m bringing Grandma and Deda with me. And all the of the other people I’ve lost along the way. Because, somehow, 2013 might be my best year yet. And I’m ready to find out.
Happy New Year, everyone! Welcome, 2013!