I’m sitting here looking at the ruins of Christmas. Trainsets and marble runs, disheveled looking Christmas tree. I can hear The muffled sounds of G downstairs with Z playing. W is at a sleepover. He’s nearly 14 and I haven’t forgotten how one longs to be with your friends rather than your family.

I took a minute to sit down and then thought to myself how long it’s been since I’ve actually sat with my thoughts. I used to do that all the time and in fact I’d say that that was the hugest part of my identity: thinker, muller, someone who dwelled on most things.

I feel like things have been only skimming the surface. I heard the term this morning… The digital community? The digital world? I told G a few months ago that I felt like my great-grandmother must’ve felt, born into a world without the whir of machinery, airplanes overhead, automobiles motoring by….To have known a certain kind of silence and then have your world utterly transformed so that the world you die in is not the one you were born into.

This isn’t to say I’m not at ease in and with technology its just that the dissonance of the two worlds is clanging so loud in my head these days. I’m sure this is exacerbated by the very fact that my field of interest and study has been utterly transformed too. The act of writing, literary fiction, that world. It’s a strange time.

This is the year that my best friend died. There really isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. Her looking into my eyes, my looking into hers. I’m not going to say goodbye I said. We are going to see one another again. You transformed my life from the moment I met you. Did I tell her that I would carry her with me?

It is so strange when someone you love dies. All the knowledge of whatever was held between you goes as well. You’re left with only your side of things. Holding the faith that however you define that relationship, that that was the way it was. We are so many different things to so many different people. No one really knows what goes on inside our hearts. Our minds. And all of it goes when we go. Her husband said to me that he assured her that there were no things undone, nothing left unsaid. We were walking their dog who was bounding in the snow and he turned to me, the bitter wind blowing, and he said but of course that’s not true. There was so much left undone, unsaid.

I always knew that I was a solitary creature. I have let very few people completely into my heart and life, not even by design maybe a function of time and age. At 12 I was vulnerable enough and broken enough to let her in. And strangely though I would make deep friendships nothing would be like the friendship I had with her. And I would feel as if I wouldn’t need another. My own personal cosmology had somehow worked out the fact that since I had such a loss early on no universe would conspire to make another.

But somehow I knew from the moment she told me of her diagnosis. Her cancer came into her life right as my daughter came into mine.

This world has a terrible and brutal sense of balance.

When I sat down in this chair I thought to myself 2014 is going to be the year that I take care of myself. Return to myself. I told G not too long ago that one of the biggest problems is that I have lost my sense of self, who I had been in the mountains, who I had redefined myself to be. I had never fit into this box that the city required of someone. No more so in adulthood than in childhood.

I took down my battered moosewood cookbook yesterday and thought that maybe it was just as simple as going back to the food I used to cook, the things that used to bring me joy– capturing moments when I can to read, write, to exercise, to make soup.

Hopefully I will write more here. I wonder what the end of your year looks like. Where you are, who you are, what do you look forward to 2014?

11 responses

  1. Where am I at the cusp of 2014? That is a good question, one I seem unable to answer myself. 2013 was an incredible year for our family: I really couldn’t ask for much more. And yet it was also one of the most difficult. The cognitive dissonance of those two paradoxical realities is something I hope to write about soon because it’s really messing with me.

    I hope I’ve written it before but I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t even fathom what that must be like, as I don’t have a friend like that so I can’t imagine losing a friend like that. It must be truly heartbreaking.

    Sending love and light in the new year. Abiding with you.

  2. I enter 2014 at a loss. My life has changed so dramatically I hardly recognize myself. I entered the year as a SAHM of two preschoolers and I exit the year the WAHM I never thought I would be. I’m back in my fast-paced career, advising C-level executives, mixing and rubbing my elbows with people who are literally changing the world with technology. I never, ever thought this would happen.

    Yet I love it.

    I hope 2014 brings lots more writing from you.

    • That is such an inspiring story. I wonder if you’ll be able to write about it? I know these things can be tricky but it just sounds fantastic I’m so happy for you. I have really appreciated your voice and the blogosphere and you are such a fantastic support and advocate for the community.

      I feel lucky to consider your friend. Happy new year to you all XOXO

      • Of course that was supposed to be I feel lucky to consider you a friend. I swear that having a smartphone has just killed all real commenting for me… I liked it so much more when I sat down at my computer keyboard and just typed.

  3. Oh, man I’d like the year of 2014 to stop being so damn tired. I just saw a whole bunch of pictures of me in directing action of our big Buddhist celebration – and man, I’m fat. Big Buddha belly right there for all to see and I have a short midsection. I’m starting to resemble my shorter eldest sister and not in a good way. So this year I vow to stop eating my emotions and start working out and eating less crap. 2013 was full of regrets and I’d like to be able to fill this year with achievements.

  4. I read this a few days ago on the small screen and it’s stayed with me ever since: “All the knowledge of whatever was held between you goes as well. You’re left with only your side of things.”

    From one solitary person to another, I’m wishing you a grounded, fulfilling 2014. I’m abiding with you as you say goodbye to the year that last held your friend.

  5. I was just thinking a few months ago about that feeling of losing one’s sense of self, how geography plays a role, and early motherhood also. I told my husband that I feel like I have only a thin sliver of my former self left. Hours of solitude and inwardness used to fuel my sense of who I am.

    And I was thinking about you as I lay awake pondering my dissertation stalemate, August deadline, and how your relationship with your daughter has become your most important commitment, and wondering whether it wouldn’t be best to just focus on my own children right now instead of this project? Really feeling the preciousness of this moment in time, in their growth and development. It makes me think about the ways in which opening ourselves to an other, taking them into ourselves, giving and receiving, makes us who we are.

    I am so sad for the loss of your friend.

    2014 is supposed to be the year I finish this degree and free myself from its weight. It’s supposed to be the year I figure out how to get my kids to eat a range of healthy foods. Who knows what will actually happen.

    Thanks for posting again.

  6. “It is so strange when someone you love dies. All the knowledge of whatever was held between you goes as well. You’re left with only your side of things. Holding the faith that however you define that relationship, that that was the way it was. We are so many different things to so many different people. No one really knows what goes on inside our hearts. Our minds. And all of it goes when we go.”

    Damn. Two years since my own dearest friend and love died from cancer and this has been the theme of my grief for the last several months. Our story is now only my story and I can make it whatever I want. It scares me. Makes me sad.

    2013 what the hell…I left my job which is something I NEVER thought I would do. Walked away from a six-figure salary (not easily come by in my field) because my kid was getting sidelined by our careers. I thought I did it solely for him, but eventually found that I did it for me, too. I’ve worked hard to regain my physical health (which was waaaaay harder than I thought it would be and is still a work in progress), but to slow shit down a bit mentally. I indulged myself with time – what an incredible luxury.

    This year I want to continue my commitment to fitness; see my boy off to kindergarten; and explore the idea of working for myself (as great as this has been we’ll be headed to Broke City by 2015 if I don’t return to earning soon.

    Love you, darling. I’ve gotten way behind and am going to go read some of your recent posts. You’re an amazing writer and I think we’re all very lucky that you’re a thinker. It’s because of your constant mulling that we get to enjoy these beautiful posts.

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