And the years roll on . . . today is New Year’s Eve, tomorrow is January 1, 2023. The older I get, the more I understand the generations who have passed. The bittersweet perspective of letting go of so many familiar faces as new ones join the family. There is a loss that is taking place and it brings me to an emotional space.
This new year will see my daughter being wed and my son planning his wedding for the following year. The age old question that every parent has asked throughout time is once more brought to mind; how did they grow up so quickly? Truthfully, they could have waited another ten years and I would still feel like it was too quick. My babies are adults with wonderful partners to share their lives with. They have careers I am proud of. But I miss those little arms around my neck and will continue to miss them forever more.
This morning brings that news that Barbara Walters passed away yesterday and Pope Benedict XVI has passed way overnight. Both are iconic figures of my time; now they join the leagues of historical figures people write about.
The world stands on the brink of World War III, some say we are already in the depths of it. I see the countries aligning and taking sides and I think of the past. Countries shuffle alliances between wars; new allies are formed, new enemies make deals. Weapons change, they attack from afar, they weaponize winter, they tell their lies and wait for alliances to fail. This is the world I leave to my children.
Storms swirl about the Earth bringing destruction. Christmas Eve saw the deaths of those in Buffalo who sought to pick up last minute groceries or who attempted to make it to their family’s homes as the snow piled up around their stranded cars. What great natural disasters await the new year? In spite of years of warning about climate change, it took a war to force our hand to change. Perhaps it’s not too late.
Another plague has taken the lives of many. In spite of vaccinations and medications, the fear remains. And yet diseases that once were a death sentence are now, thankfully, managed and cured. All four of my siblings live beyond the cancer that took our father at 61. I rejoice that they are still with me. I fear that the same diagnosis awaits me as each year passes. My husband now fights Parkinson’s, the disease that stole his uncle’s last years. I pray that the cure will come soon enough for him. This past year took the life of my brother-in-law, Earl, as he succumbed to brain cancer; but it saved the life of my sister-in-law, Terri, with a new heart to replace the one that was failing her. There is reason for sadness; but still reason for joy.
Our country strives to mend the ties that have bound us for centuries. Can we become one nation again? Has too much division destroyed us already? I hope and pray for our country and the world.
How did our ancestors see the changes happening in their times? Those who lived through the wars of the past? Those who lived through the progress and the setbacks? Did they have the same fears that I have today? Perhaps different; yet the same? What came to pass after their leaving was at times sad and at other times joyful. The family has survived. Generations letting go of their elders while welcoming the young. Time folding on itself until the past is forgotten and the future is revealed.
Good-bye 2022. Hello 2023. We will go on. We will take the moments of joy and know how precious they are; we understand the sadness that could so easily take their place.