We returned from Naples, FL the afternoon of New Year’s Eve in plenty of time for the annual dinner party with good friends from the “old” neighborhood. I both looked forward to and dreaded the get together with friends. I didn’t dread it because I didn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with friends who’ve all been tremendously supportive; I dreaded it because my mind wanted to wander to New Year’s Eve 2011 when Brandon had helped me prepare to host the annual dinner party, and that is a tough destination for me. Throughout the evening I occasionally traveled to 2011, but then I or a friend would pull me back to the last few hours of 2013.
I thought I was doing pretty darn well. I felt fine as we all gathered around the television just before midnight to join the countdown to 2014. We watched Manhattan’s Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball descend during the final seconds of the old year until it proclaimed the beginning of the new one. Everyone began shouting, “Happy New Year!” as husbands and wives kissed each other and then turned to share New Year’s greetings with friends.
Yet as excited “Happy New Year” greetings rang out, it hit me. I would never know a Happy New Year again. It hit me that every New Year now means one more year without having Brandon here, physically present in our lives. One more year missing him. One more year missing everything about him. One more year without “Brandon hugs” and one more year without his humor and kind commonsense.
A friend turned, hugged me and said, “Happy New Year!” And I replied, “No more happy new years for me.” The tears started, and I could tell any efforts to stop them would fail. I left the room to find a private spot where I could cry in peace by myself, as I prefer. The tears surprised me by turning into loud sobs. After a minute or two, my husband found me and put his arms around me. It took several minutes, but I eventually “collected” myself and we rejoined the party.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a reputation as a “weepy” female! Quite the contrary. (And “quite the contrary” is probably an understatement!) It has been 19 months, and I am still always on the verge of tears. Always. One second I can speak of Brandon, his life, his illness and even his death while remaining cool, calm and collected; however, the next second I may completely dissolve. Or I may completely dissolve without ever mentioning him. Still, I’m thinking of him. The mere thought that he’s really not ever going to open our front door, stride in and announce his presence easily results in tears.
And tears are no longer watery eyes. Tears are now these giant alien blobs of salty water, which roll down each cheek, one after the other, in what seems an endless trail.