How does your year end? Hurtling itself over the finish line with whoops and streaming ribbons? Crawling, tired and dazed, in poorly fitting clothes? Sauntering perhaps, but needing to remind itself once again what year it actually was?
In any event, the year moves on, tipping its hat or taking a swing at the mile markers along the way. I tend to ignore the best-of and worst-of points-of-interest. Ranking things feels impossible. What was the best book or the best movie or the best full moon? I don’t know. In my rankings, most everything comes to a tie.
But there is a end-of-the-year signpost I’ll take a moment to acknowledge. In fact, I’ll stop at this particular signpost, catch my breath, and take in the view. The view shows valleys of melancholy and cliffs of heartbreak, it’s true. But pretending it isn’t here doesn’t feel like an option.
What things and people are not with us this time around? Who and what have we said goodbye to?
I’ve witnessed others say goodbye to loved ones this year. There’s something final and terrible about moving into that first year in which the person you loved will never have existed. Do you know what I mean?
But there are other types of losses. Friendship is one. I think I’m saying goodbye to a friendship I’d cherished. In our culture we more easily acknowledge the loss of a romantic relationship but it’s important to honor the passing of friendships too. They can also break our hearts. And pets are achingly hard to lose. Someone I know had to give up her beloved dog. Now, this doggo came to live with my family and me, so she’s our gain, but our gain was another’s loss. Her mama grieved even though we stay in touch and I send pictures.
Then there’s the loss of proximity. People we like move away. The friendship remains, but who knows when we’ll see them again?
Of course, there’s the loss of things, favorite items, sentimental objects, things we regret breaking or misplacing.
And we may lose our health, our stability, our faith. We can gain these back, but they’ll be different. A few years back I lost a certain view of myself. It was shockingly painful and though I’ve learned from the experience, I can’t say I’m over it.
This year I repeatedly lost my patience and my temper. Luckily they are things we can get back, but I’d like to lose them less.
But as we know, loss is part of life. Which doesn’t make it any easier, I know. I’m not here to argue about the merits of loss or give advice in dealing with it.
Loss can be devastating. It can be liberating. It can be a host of things. I’m not here to tell you you’ll learn and grow from the experience.
I’m here only to honor it, to acknowledge it, to light the virtual candle and give you a virtual hug. We’re standing at this marker of the end of the year, looking over what we’re leaving behind.
We’re still here. And that’s a good thing.
Thanks for reading.
If you’d like to share something you’re leaving behind in 2019, that’d be lovely. But it’s more than fair enough if you’d rather keep it to yourself.