Fifty-five years ago today, my Mom left this world for the next one. At the time, my family and I were overwhelmed by the grief and loss, realizing that no-one could or would ever replace her. Today, I realize for the first time that there was something symbolic about her dying on the last day of the year.
While I have done my share of holiday, New Year’s celebrations, somehow it has never been acceptable for me to treat the end of the year as a joyous event. But I now understand that the beginning and the end are inextricably connected. It’s clear that December 31 was to be the final day of my Mom’s suffering and sadness. Today, I recognize that it was an opportunity to begin a new year with its own challenges and victories.
By no means do I intend this to be a message of sadness and mourning. I miss her every day of my life and I am certain that I will always do so. But if she were here to guide and teach, I am certain that her message would be to live life fully and with as much happiness as I could generate and experience.
And so, my lesson is to make this last day of the year an opportunity to begin something tomorrow that is new and more wonderful than anything that preceded it. If you want to learn how to speak Italian, do it, without preparing yourself for the failure that is inherent to statements such as, “I’m terrible at foreign languages.” If you love to sing, find a choral ensemble near you and join. If you want to visit New Zealand and you have the means to make it happen, do so.
Each new day effectively deletes the last one and the same is true for years. If 2019 was personally disastrous or unhappy, make it a point to make 2020 twice as good. We have the power to control a great portion of our destinies and it’s a tremendous waste to recreate the sadness of our past with no hope of improving life.
Her memory will always be for a blessing. Shalom.