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swaddled and celebrating

Years ago, years and years, long enough that I’m over it in lots of ways, we buried my brother on a December 31. At the same time, there are lots of ways that I’m not over it. I learned the difference between being gouged by pain and being beheaded by it. I am gouged by the fact that I could not call my mother yesterday and sing her birthday song or tell her that prime number birthdays are special ones, but my head is still here and she is not and I know the difference.

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This is what you’re supposed to do after a loss. You differentiate. Eventually it becomes a story you tell from time to time, and a frame of reference, and some days it is the thing that takes you down. When you go a long time without being taken down, that’s something to celebrate.

This year, I have a tab open in my browser that counts down the days until Myron comes back, with his bag full of sanity and his way of looking at me that silently says how deeply I am seen. There is another countdown that numbers the days until I walk into our new house and let it wrap itself around me. In the meantime, I dodge the pile of boxes in my kitchen and uncork prosecco and allow the love of my friends to wrap itself around me. There was a time when this would suffocate me, but at this moment, it just feels warm.

I will be happy to see the end of 2012. I will be happy to have this manufactured fresh start dictated to me by the calendar and the rotation of the earth. I will be happy as I laugh loudly enough to hear my own echo off these walls, which are only mine for a handful more days. I will be happy when plans large and small come to fruition in this new year. And maybe this is the closest I come to prayer, to say that I will be happy and that I wish happiness for you in everything the year brings you. We’ve earned this one.