Today is a difficult day.
I’m going to put a lot of stuff here and it’s going to be tough to write, and possibly tough to read.
Deep breath. Okay. Here goes.
Today is a difficult day for a number of reasons. Some of it is specific to December 31st, 2012; some of it just to December 31 in general.
For today — with no history or other issues — the first problem is that I’m tired. The night of December 29th, I struggled with insomnia and got less than four hours of sleep… and then I foolishly stayed up to see the end of the Redskins/Cowboys game, so I didn’t get to bed at a decent hour, and then Sage woke up more than an hour earlier than her usual time. I had two cups of coffee in order to wake up, which unfortunately means that I can’t nap while she’s napping, because coffee will indeed keep me awake. Plus, it’s still December and it’s snowing again, and I really don’t like snow. I know I’m going to need to do a lot of shoveling either today or tomorrow because the people who plowed our court plowed it all in front of OUR house, essentially burying our trash can.
So there’s that.
But today is tough for other reasons as well.
Seven years ago today, our family lost a beloved child. My nephew, Isaiah, passed away in the afternoon. He was only three months old.
I have so many things that I will never forget about that day and the days following, but I won’t post those here. Not so publicly. Some of those memories aren’t mine to share; others aren’t available to just anybody. I’m a pretty open guy, but if you want to know more about that day and the days following, you’ll have to talk to me personally.
But New Year’s Eve has never been the same.
Now, of course, I am affected by this, as is the whole family — but nowhere near as deeply as Isaiah’s parents were affected. If I have trouble holding it together every year when the anniversary rolls around, I can’t imagine how they handle it. Amanda, Paul: we love you. (Isaiah: we love you, too.)
The weirdest part about that specific day is that it was also the day that I was baptized. I don’t mean the anniversary of it; I mean that day. I was baptized a few hours after Isaiah passed away. I had been planning it for quite some time, and as a family we agreed that I should go through with it, especially because my parents had come all the way from New York for it.
I had always said that I didn’t want to get baptized until I found a church that was home. I had finally found it.
This is the first year since Isaiah’s passing that the church I attended doesn’t exist anymore. (The building does. Many of the same people attend it. But it’s not the same, because our service was killed in a reorganization.) That safety net is gone, and attempts to keep its strands together have not been as successful as I’d like.
I used to love New Year’s Eve. Every year I would get together with extended family and we’d play games for hours and hours, and we’d eat and enjoy sparkling grape juice and usually there was a Three Stooges marathon or a tape of old Warner Bros cartoons, and it was just some of the best times I remember from growing up. But for various reasons that I categorically refuse to go into here, my extended family is no longer a family that I can do these things with. It’s actually to the point where I am often reluctant to visit because of extended family issues — and considering how much I love my parents and siblings, that’s a painful thing to admit. (Family members who may be reading this: I beg of you, please do not turn my comments section into a referendum on who is right or wrong or who “should” do what. Those discussions don’t need to be here.) But that expectation of fun for New Year’s Eve because of extended family? That safety net is long gone, too.
Sage is obviously too young to appreciate New Year’s. And she’s also young enough that Ann and I need to be here for New Year’s; we really can’t make any plans. (I could have arranged to do ComedySportz, but that means leaving Ann at home alone with the baby. That’s not fair to any of us.)
And here is the final kicker to all of this… I feel guilty about feeling bad about any of this. I feel guilty that I’m complaining about the weather when I know there are so many people who are not blessed with a warm house and readily available food. I feel guilty that I still get so devastated by the memory of Isaiah’s passing when it’s really his parents who suffered far beyond anything I experienced. I feel guilty that I want to keep my daughter away from extended family, most of whom have treated me with respect even though I have seen them treat each other terribly, because while I have suffered during this extended family drama, I am not even close to being one of the people that’s significantly affected. I feel guilty that I want to get out of the house when the two people I love most in the world will be right here. I feel guilty that I can’t even come up with a way to have fun on New Year’s Eve that I can actually get excited about. I feel guilty that things I should get excited about are doing nothing for me. And I feel guilty about feeling guilty because when you’re depressed, it likes to feed on itself, because if depression were a person, he’d be a complete ass.
I’m posting this early because I know from experience that this will get worse as the day goes on, and I will need to invest all my energy into making sure that I’m not wallowing in it — that I’m being the best husband and father I can be. I need to make sure that I don’t just withdraw. I need to try to find a way to have a great evening regardless of what’s going on.
So. Wish me luck.