The title of this blog post pretty much summarises what 2018 was for me.
My Amma passed away in February 2018 and life as I knew it to be changed forever. Nearly a year later, I am still grappling with the changes her loss brought me. From returning to an empty home every evening to greedy neighbours slyly asking me when I would be selling the house and moving in with one of my brothers to everything in between — it has been a difficult year. There are times when the grief has been so overwhelming that I have been unable to speak; there have also been days times when I have sailed through without any issues. There have been good days and there have been not-so-good days and each day has taught lessons — big and small — to cope and move ahead.
One of the biggest lessons (and challenges) for me has been on letting go. Some were easy to let go, some happened naturally and some were difficult to let go, like The Sunday Book Club or #TSBC. A twitter-based book chat, I had co-founded #TSBC in 2012 and had been a part of it since then. But for the last year and so, I hadn’t been active on or contributed to #TSBC due to work commitments initially and later due to Amma’s illness. I had thought that I would be able to pick up after her passing passed away, but that didn’t happen and that’s when I knew that I had to let go. I quit #TSBC in September 2018, and though I miss #TSBC terribly, the enormous sense of relief at letting go far outweighs difficult and painful decision of quitting #TSBC.
And through all this life has gone on in small and big ways — in the everyday mundane as well those moments of personal achievements; traveling to a new place or revisiting an old favourite; finding comfort in old reads or music and getting mind blown in discovering new ones; learning to cook and also learning to order in with equal felicity; discovering hidden strengths within me and also discovering that a mouse at home had the ability to reduce me to a nervous, weepy wreck; and so much more.
If loss numbed the mind and letting go made me feel lighter, it is the realization that time and tide, and indeed life doesn’t stop for anyone that kept me going. Nothing can illustrate this better than dealing with the severe bronchial infection I have had for the last two months — the worst I’ve had in 5 years. The non-stop coughing, the inhaler, the sleepless nights in the chair, the nebulizer, the tiredness and the breathlessness, the chest pain, the visits to the doctor, and coping with all of it on my own without my Amma by my side. I never thought I could deal with the infection on my own, but I did and am much better now and on the way to full recovery. Touchwood.
And just like that a year is over, a year has sped by and New Year’s Eve is here with the opportunity to take a breath and just look back. Initially, I wasn’t going to write a year-end or beginning of the New Year kind of post, for that matter. But then I came across this poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox on a friend’s Facebook wall earlier this evening, and this blog post emerged.
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
What can be said in New-Year rhymes,
That’s not been said a thousand times?
The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.
We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.
We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.
We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.
We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that’s the burden of the year.
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Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019 ! Happy New Year, dear friends. 🙂