Sunday, December 31, 2017

Stepping alone into 2018

It is the First Sunday after Christmas and it is New Year's Eve.

So here we sit in the midst of the Christmas season (really- Christmas only STARTS on Christmas Day - it lasts 12 days) as well as on the cusp of a new year. 

Today we are all Janus, "the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings". Like Janus, we face two ways at once, looking back at the old year, looking forward to the new.

At the best of times, it can be bittersweet. But for me, 2017 always will be the year Gayland died. Full stop. So looking back brings happy memories as well as heartbreak.

And looking forward? Well, none of us can tell the future, but generally we know with whom we will be moving into it. 

Stepping alone into 2018 is not what I expected. Going forward without my love, my friend, my partner in creation, my sounding board, my wall against which I could throw ideas, no matter how wild, unreasonable, crazy, funny, or idiotic; my shelter from the storm, my muse, my companion, my challenger, my advocate, my intercessor,  my guide, my charge, my bread baker, my co-conspirator, my man of many parts . . . well, it seems impossible. 

But of course it isn't impossible. Time doesn't stop just because his temporal presence has stopped. It just seems as if it has. The world seem curiously muted and blurred, as if everyone and everything has retreated to a great distance from me. Or I from them. It's hard to tell.

I turn into our driveway and see his car, and for a split second I smile because that means he's home. Then reality slams back into place and I can barely see, much less breathe.

Make no mistake. Sorrow hurts. It is a very real, very physical pain. My chest is sore, my muscles hurt, my heart aches.

I know his new year will be wonderful. 

All I know of mine is that it will be a time of reinvention, of carving out a new way to live as me, alone. For while he and I each had vibrant separate lives, those lives were incredibly enriched by the life we had together. We were each strong alone, but together we fed our respective strengths and helped each other develop new ones. We trusted each other's love to endure through anger, through frustration, through exasperation, through all things human. Most of all, we could be vulnerable to one another, each knowing we were safe in the care of the other.

Oh, my love. I miss you.


Millie Gore said...

Dearest Katie, When JD Todd notified me of Gayland's death, my first thought was, "The old warriors are going to their rest," thinking as I was of Owanah's death this year. Your New Year's party was, after all, the place where Owanah and I were emboldened to start the good fight for TEC in WF. That would not have happened without you and Gayland.

So, as he lives now in the Church Victorious, his work lives on in the Church Militant.

You will be in my prayers.
Millie Gore Lancaster

Judy Alter said...

Katie, there are no adequate words. You are eloquent about your grief, and I know marching into 2018 alone is hard, but I also know you will do it with grace and courage. I'm cheering for you eve as I grieve with you.

Anne Watkins said...

Dear, dear Katie -

You and my sister seem to be living parallel experiences. In late October through mid-November I spent 25-days in Ohio with her as we bid a heartbreaking farewell to my wonderful, brilliant, gentle, kind brother-in-law following a severe heart attack from which he could not recover. I am heartbroken, too, knowing that you face what my sister faces. My prayers and heart are with you as you walk this uncharted path. Know you are surrounded by love.

Anne Watkins