Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years Crash

Ever since that calendar started to read 2015 about 24 hours or so ago, I have been feeling a little bit down. I keep forgetting that New Years Eve and New Years Day make me incredibly sad. I don't know why I keep forgetting this, but I do. Each year since my husband's death, the sadness surrounding New Years always seems to come out of nowhere and surprise me. So here I am again. Sad. Alone. Down.

Last night, for New Years Eve, I spent it all by myself in my apartment in New York. I actually didn't mind this at first. I had just returned the day before from 10 days in Massachusetts staying with my parents for Christmas, and although I had a really nice time this year overall, I am emotionally exhausted and needed to be alone and just doing nothing. So it was fine. Until it wasn't. Until about 10 minutes before midnight. Until I put on that stupid Ryan Seacrest / Dick Clark Rockin Eve crap and saw tourists in the streets kissing each other happily and giggling with silly glasses and party hats on their heads. I sat there stone-faced as the countdown began, and then turned the TV off before it got to the number one. I didn't want to hear anymore of it. No more counting of things. No more acknowledging more years that my husband doesn't get to live in. So I went to bed. But I couldn't sleep. At all. I had one of those nights where the ache of missing him just wouldn't go away, and absolutely nothing helped or made me feel better. I laid there trying to focus, really focus, on his face and his blue eyes or the way he held my hand lying in bed, and he would start lightly humming out of nowhere. I tried to concentrate on the tiniest molecule of specifics about him - all those things that made him him that were starting to feel so far away. I tried to keep remembering and remembering, so that I would never ever forget. But in the end, I stayed awake until 5 a.m. in the morning, tossing and turning, crying and not crying, remembering and not remembering. It was just one of those nights.

Today I got up late, because I am off work for the next couple weeks until the spring semester of teaching starts back up, and I wandered aimlessly around my apartment, trying like hell to find myself in the foggy air. I felt so tired, so drained from the holidays and from feeling joy for the first time in 3.5 years during Christmas. Yes, joy is joy - but joy is tiring. And in the land of grief, massive joy is usually followed up by a massive crash.

So I crashed. And I felt the missing of him some more, and I let myself sit around and feel the sad. I can't force it away - this I have learned. It will be there until it no longer needs to be there, so I feel it and let it be there. Tonight, two very close friends of mine came over to my apartment and we ordered pizzas and I had snacks and drinks out. They are a couple, and we have been good friends for about 15 years now. In 12 days exactly, they are packing up their life and moving to California. They are both from New York and have lived here most of their lives, and they have always wanted to try things out west and see what it's like. So, earlier tonight, we hung out and said our goodbyes. This will most likely be the last time I see them before they head west, and the last time I see them in who knows how long after that. I am extremely sad about them leaving. Not only because I will miss them like mad, but because they are Don's friends too, and it feels like just another piece of the puzzle of "that life" that is moving further away from my vision. It feels like saying goodbye to another piece of my husband, and I don't want to say goodbye. I don't want to.

New Years is supposed to be all about new beginnings and resolutions and new goals and hopes for the future. And maybe in a few days, I will be able to see it that way. But right now, right this very minute, the only thing I can see is that another whole year has ended without my husband in it. Another year went by that he doesn't get to breathe or experience life or grow or laugh or be a dad or realize his potential as a human being on this earth. Another whole year is gone, and thats 12 whole months added to the distance from me to him. Yes, time marches on. Life continues. The earth keeps spinning. The years go by and change each December 31st. I need to accept that. But I refuse to be part of the countdown that celebrates more time away from my husband, and the life I knew.

I will be okay again in a few days. But right now, I just need to crash.


  1. Kelley, my heart and mind are crying with you for all the same reasons. The love of my life died suddenly 3-1/2 years ago. I survived the fourth Christmas without my husband, but the ache of missing him lives inside me and will forever. Karen

  2. I am so very sorry for your loss. Sending you lovelovelove and prayers, from a sisterwidow, Deb

  3. Kelley, as usual, you have voiced the words that I couldn't find to describe how I am feeling. I too will be "okay" in a few days, but meantime the sorrow sucks the life out of me...the "crash" and the reasons for it wipe me out. It is , as you said, a must that we go through it instead of pushing it down, ignoring it...grief must be gotten through only by living it. It is good that we can communicate with others who truly understand. (This comment will be listed as being from "mikeysmom," but you know me as carol johnston on FB. "Mikey" is our son, who died in 2006. My hubby Mike, died in August 2012)

  4. Jan.7
    Just catching up on reading the widow's voice. I also chose not to watch any countdowns on New Year's Eve, but I went whole hog and for the entire evening I watched other cable channels that were not showing any live programming. Like you, I had a nice Christmas with family, and came home Monday, Dec. 29, feeling like maybe after 3 years, I was at a turning point. Even with the shunning of any New Year's Eve festivities, I still feel (knock on wood) that maybe the very worst of missing him is getting a little softer. I can only hope that all of us start to feel some softness at the edges of our grief.
    Thanks for sharing your feelings so eloquently.
    Carol M.

  5. I read this on New Years Day- 2016...and know how you felt. My birthday is tomorrow and my husband died a week after my birthday in 2014. New year, another year older, another year that he didn't get to experience. I have many nice things planed for my birthday, but it is all a trick to keep myself from crashing because once tomorrow is over then my mental countdown of the awful week he died will be with me as I move through it again. The first year was survival and the second year is has been learning to live this new reality. But these holidays and anniversaries can be brutal. Last year on the anniversary of his death, my sons and I wrote down our memories of him and then read them out loud. It was beautiful because we all shared different things and we laughed and remembered together. It was also a way to get two teenagers to talk openly about their dad. I am scared to do this again because we have no new memories- just the same ones from before. I'm afraid this will just make us even sadder. But doing nothing or not having a tradition on the anniversary of his death I think would be worse.

    Sorry, I went totally somewhere else with this, but your words resonated with me. Thank you

    1. I'm so sorry you have to face your birthday and his death at the beginning of each year. I hope an extra special memory of a time that has perhaps slipped to the recesses will wrap around you and your boys this year.

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