I’ve attempted to write this post several times and it just isn’t flowing out of me. “Goodbye 2012, you were great! Bring it on, 2013!” That is anything but what I feel right now. When you stare at your computer screen, attempting to write, and then end up sobbing in bed instead, you know there’s no joy in your heart about sweeping out the old and welcoming the new.
How do you say goodbye to a year in which your baby sister died? How do you make yourself look forward? How do you celebrate what a new year could bring when this last year brought such sadness and loss?
The tears were mostly caused by looking back through old photos and videos. I was trying to find a photo from a year ago that I could use in my post, but this search led me to albums of images from the trip my family and I took to the Balkans last year. I found a video of Dec 31, 2011, when we were exploring Zagreb, Croatia. It was just a simple clip on my iPhone, but it included a scene–such an ordinary scene!–with Elliott and Julia standing side-by-side and taking pictures of my parents with Zagreb behind them. At the end of the video, Julia walked forward to show my parents the picture she’d just taken on my dad’s phone. Everything about that moment was so ordinary, so familiar: the way she walked, the shape of her hands, the expression on her face as she glanced at me to see if I was done filming before she started talking. She was so real in those few seconds, so present, so alive.
I guess I haven’t watched any videos of her since she died; maybe that’s what shook me up so much. Or maybe I am so busy a lot of the time that I just don’t think about it. Unexpected moments like this take me back to Square 1 of grief again.
I often go back and read this letter from my dad, which reminds me of truths I confess, truths about Julia, truths about life even when the night is very dark. Truths that give me joy, hope, thankfulness, and peace, even in the midst of sorrow.