An Elvis year is that rare convergence of events where everything goes right and you can do no wrong. So what about the year where everything goes horribly awry? I think that’s what I had in 2012. The superstitious peasant buried deep within me quivers at the idea of actually stating, out loud, that this was the worst year I could have; what if saying that tempts fate to bring on something worse?
In a way it’s freeing to believe that the worst that could happen is over. I can move forward with no fear. I survived. I’m not happy right now, and I’m still trying to figure out what’s next, but I’m here.
Of course, it’s not really that bad. Yes, I had a terrible and unexpected loss; but it could have been worse. I’m not going through the unfathomable horror that 20 families in Connecticut are facing. I’m not one of many people out of work, wondering if I’ll ever find a job, or stuck in a low paying job that doesn’t provide enough money to make ends meet. I have a job, a house, a car; my parents remain in good health, and my adult child is living a good life that doesn’t require me providing a bedroom or financial support.
As I reflect on the year I’ve had, I can be grateful for what is good. But I am also still reeling from the unexpected and the bad. Twelve months ago I did not expect that New Year’s Eve would also be my 4-month anniversary of widowhood.
This is a sad New Years Eve, even for a holiday I’ve always felt was more melancholy reminisces than bacchanalian revel. The weather is gorgeous outside, bright sun bouncing off the snow and that intense shade of blue that only appears when it’s truly cold. I’ll probably go for a walk later. Right now I’m sitting here at the table, trying to make some narrative sense of my life.
It’s no longer impossible to believe what has happened; now I can’t stop reliving that last month day-by-day, hour-by-hour. The analyst in me is working hard trying to understand the how and why of what happened. Were there signs I missed or misinterpreted? I remember how, during low periods, Rick would say to me “I hope you remember me fondly when I’m gone”. That remark never failed to infuriate me. It spoke to his maudlin, depressed side, and to his seeming unwillingness to fight back against obstacles. I took it as a personal insult; didn’t he want to be with me? I’m still obsessed with what happened, when it started. I examine our life together with a magnifying glass trying to find the clues.
Realistically I know that life doesn’t have a satisfying final scene where all the loose ends are wrapped up. I’ll never fully know the man I loved and married, no more than he fully knew me. Our relationship was messy and complicated.
And, maybe, that’s the best conclusion to reach; that it’s up to each of us to just accept the other people in our life as they are, without trying to fix everything. That while we’ll never be able to find the script, we can create the narrative of what things meant. I can focus on the negatives and where we failed as a couple, or on what was good and strong about our relationship. That doesn’t mean turning him into a saint or creating a fantasy of the world’s greatest relationship. I remember everything, good and bad, but I choose to remember what was best to hold close to me. I want to move forward; I can’t yet, but it will happen. When it does, I want to have clear and realistic memories of what Rick and I had and were to each other, positive and negative, but I want the conclusion to be that it was good and worthwhile and of value.
At midnight on Monday I will bid a farewell to 2012, a year that was not a good one for me, and I will welcome 2013. I hope for a year of healing and health, of moving forward to a new life while holding close the memories and all that was good of my life before.