I’ve never been a New Year’s Resolution kind of person. I guess I have always been the type to quietly go about achieving goals I have set for myself. I am always planning, and always have things I hope to accomplish personally, professionally, etc., but those things come flooding in at will to my random mind that has no off switch whatsoever.
This year I have felt differently about resolutions, but I only have one. I want to hope this year. The biggest personal casualty of my grief over my mom has ended up being my sense of hope. Not a lack of hope in all things, but certainly a lack of hope that I will ever feel better than I do now. I am constantly amazed by how much I can enjoy the things in life that I did before my mom died, but there is always a crash, and a reality that things are forever different…my family, my view of the world, me. It’s a lot like looking at the same world, and the same life, but through shaded glasses. Things, at least for now, are not as bright as they used to be.
As a result, I have approached many days and minutes as kind of a “put your head down and get through it” situation. It makes you miss a lot to do things this way. The one thing I have made certain I am present for and attentive to is my time with my daughters. I won’t let myself miss a day that they are growing up. But my own enjoyment of everything else suffers. I thought back on 2015, the first full year without my mom, and realized how many fun things I did that I had almost forgotten about. I remember thinking at the beginning of the year that I was going to work hard to do more and enjoy more. To have more experiences with my family and my friends. To live my life more than I had in 2014, while my mom was sick, and after she died. That year is nothing but a blur to me, something I hardly recall aside from the trauma of the days and weeks spent unknowingly and slowly saying goodbye to the woman I admired most.
I realized in my reflecting, that I had done what I set out to do in 2015. I took trips, I spent time with my family, and my friends, I tried a lot harder than I wanted to sometimes. I started writing, I read more, I sang more, I had fewer sleepless nights, and I let myself be okay at times. I also realized that I did all of those things with my head down, plugging through, trying to cross them off of a mental list, and busy myself within them so that I didn’t have to think about how much I was hurting under the surface. I didn’t absorb the moments, I just existed in them. I let the idea that I will always feel like I do now take over, and I stopped having faith that this pain is temporary. I think with everything my family has endured for over five years, I have become someone waiting for the other shoe to drop, and holding my breath until it happens.
I have realized that I HATE being like that. I miss my optimism. I miss the feeling that everything is going to be okay. I was optimistic and hopeful and faithful through so much for so long, and now I am exhausted. Anxiety, and anger, and bitterness are easier. There is no risk in that, and there is no disappointment in it, or at least nothing new. But I am not really that person. That person has missed out on truly being immersed in good things, and good experiences, and I don’t want to be like that anymore. So my goal for this year is to become hopeful again. I want to do the same kinds of things I did last year, but I want to do them through different eyes, without the shade cast over them. I may be expecting too much too soon. I’m not sure. But I can definitely try.