I came across this quote today when I was looking for something else, and I thought about this blog, and how I hadn’t had a lot of time to write in the last couple of months. Even without working since August, I’d found a lot of ways to occupy my time, including school and spending as much time with my family as I could.
It’s an odd time of year. There’s just 20 days left of arguably the worst year of my life. I’ve experienced more in 2013 than a lot of people experience in a generation. I keep hoping at some point, the trial will show me why. I’ll learn the greater purpose of all of this trouble, all of the tears, all of the anger and the frustration. I can’t imagine I’ve gone through this for no reason.
We had our first Thanksgiving without my mother, and while I could feel her absence like an elephant sitting on my chest, it wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. I’m not as sure I’ll be able to say the same about Christmas. My mother was a Griswold for Christmas. It was her favorite holiday; her favorite time of the year. At times, I think my mother was probably more excited about Christmas than either my sister or I were. It was her thing.
When my newspaper work took me to Charleston, and later Washington, she didn’t care what holidays I worked as long as I could be home for Christmas. She wanted both of her children sleeping in her house for Christmas. And, now, she isn’t here.
And we have to deal with that. Christmas isn’t canceled because our mother died in March. Just as Thanksgiving wasn’t canceled. Just as her birthday will always be May 2. Just as my parents’ anniversary will always be tomorrow. Despite how much we hurt, the world will not cater to us and stop. Life, for us and everybody around us, will go on. People will go back to work. People will have great days. People will have vacations. People will get married and have children. They’ll do all of those things, and I should, too.
I once told a good friend that the only thing good about 2013 will be December 31. I can’t really say that now. My fortune has started to turn, and things are falling back into line. They’ll never be where they were before. I don’t kid myself. My life will never, ever be the same as it once was. I’m slowly becoming better with that. As cliche as it sounds, I’m adjusting to the “new normal.” I hate that at 34 years old, I know what “the new normal” even is, but I didn’t get to make that decision. Some decisions are not ours to make.
In case I don’t make it back, I hope Christmas treats you well if that’s your thing. If it’s not, I hope you enjoy a slate of bowl games that are enough to make even the heartiest of Vegas bookies squeal with delight. (Including the one I’m ditching in St. Petersburg — Go Bobcats!)