As I sit here this morning seeing the "year in pictures" posted by others, and reflecting on the year past, my heart is heavy. My year in pictures would include the last few months of my dear husband's life ... as the cancer took him from us. It wouldn't be pretty. I follow the lives of others who are on this same journey of loss and grief.
One is a few months behind me on this journey. She is realizing that the "life" she has been living as only been "Performance Living". I know what she is feeling. The performance of the daily routines, the "dires", the "illusion of being o.k." ... yeah, me too. The exhaustion, the lack of motivation and interest, the "deadness" of true life ... yeah, me too. Most evenings find me putting on p.j.'s and crawling in bed as soon as supper is over and the morning coffee is set up.
One is a few months further down the road; having just passed the "one year" marker. Following her as she approached that day ... and as she now moves forward has reminded me that the darkest hour is just before dawn. She is putting the year "away" and moving forward "Considering Life". I'm encouraged that, when I pass that "one year marker", I, too, may be able to move forward. Right now each point I've passed through is still sitting in piles and boxes, waiting to be put "away". Tom's possessions and memorials. My son's graduation from high school. My step-son's wedding. Christmas.
I haven't taken down and packed away the beauty of the Christmas season, because, once I do, all I have left is the brown and gray of winter, minus the blanket of snow that didn't come this year ... and the memories of the darkest and most painful days of the last year.
As this year draws to a close, I want to look ahead ... to plan a "New Year". I listen to the beautiful music and download "The Daily Draft" from Ann Voskamp's Blog A Holy Experience. I note that under "The Definites", she includes "workout" (I haven't done this since October... I need to begin a New Year of workout), "food log" (I have to remind myself that food is necessary. I have to start to plan meals ... for myself and my boys), and "water" (yes, I've forgotten about water, too; getting dehydrated - the only water being in the coffee I consume daily to keep going). She also reminds me of these "dires": prayer, the Word, and seeing the Gifts He gives me every day. I download her app to record "1000 Gifts" for my phone and I take my first photo this morning. Being thankful ... seeing His Gifts ... Light in the darkness.
One more Gift that I am so thankful for today ... these ladies! They are very important parts of my "grief support group". And through them, I've been connected to so many others and resources that God has been using to heal me and lead me on!
As I've written this, light snow fell and scattered glistening white hope over the brown ground outside my window, and rays of sunlight are beginning to overcome the gray skies above. I receive this Gift, too ... hope of a New Year Life!