I made it through the Christmas a week ago and thought that would be the worst of it for a while. New Year’s isn’t a big deal to me. Mainly just another day. A chance to get together with friends for a party. I don’t do resolutions and reflecting on the year isn’t a big deal to me.
Ty and I typically stay in the neighborhood for New Year’s. This tradition goes back to 19 years ago when we moved here and everyone had small children. We might go to dinner, but we’d end up at a neighbor’s house where we could put the kids to bed and party together. This year we have been invited to two neighbors’ houses. Kayla is going out with friends from high school. As time to get dressed rolls around I’m just not feeling it. I have zero energy and we haven’t even started yet. I force myself to get dressed and we head out to the neighbors’ the next street over. It’s a small low key affair. We have a couple of glasses of wine and some conversation. The mother of one of Shayna’s best friends is there and we spend some time reminiscing about the times the girls had and when she drove Shayna in car pool. Talking about Shayna is a mixed bag now. I want to talk about her. I want to keep her close to me, but talking about how the other kids are going on with their lives, talking about colleges, getting their driver’s licenses is hard. I’m happy for the parents and the kids, but it’s a reminder of things I won’t have with Shayna.
We stay at the party for a couple of hours and head home to pick up supplies for the next party. As Ty is getting ready, I sit on the steps and just stare into space. The reality is Shayna would have been with friends tonight anyway and I’d be missing the days when the girls were with us on New Year’s, but this is a whole different level of missing her. I get myself together and we head out to the next party.
The people at this party are mostly people we have known for nearly two decades. Our girls grew up together. Kayla and her friends stop by after their dinner at P.F. Chang’s and on their way to a couple of more parties. I do what I can to be sociable, but I’m really struggling to keep my energy level up which is unusual for me to say the least. We get through midnight, spend another hour or so there and it’s time to say our goodbyes.
My thoughts turn to New Year’s Eve’s in the past. I remember December 31, 1999. Ty was very pregnant, due in a week. It was the last New Year’s we would spend without Shayna, or so I thought. Two weeks later, on January 13, 2000 she joined us. I couldn’t have imagined I would ever have another one without her.
When we get home I go upstairs to get ready for bed. I’ve been bottling up all this sadness all night and now it just spills out. I think more than ever I’m realizing the permanence of this. My coping techniques aren’t working. I forget this is only an illusion, this is only temporary. None of that comes to mind. The rest of my life looks like a giant bottomless abyss from here. I think about New Year’s 2017 and all I can think of is I do not want to do this again. I just break down and cry. I’m totally spent right now. No hope. No more strength. I don’t know how I’m going to go on breathing. But, the next breath always comes. I crawl into bed, pull the covers up and mercifully sleep comes quickly. When I wake I’m slightly better. I comfort myself with the thought I made it through the end of this horrible, horrible year.