My mission this year is to start writing again. When I was promoted to an official copywriter at my marketing agency, I found it incredibly difficult to write all day, only to come home and write some more. I know now, however, that I need to. Writing is my passion, and as such, I need to find a way to make time for it in the same way that I make time for yoga and friends. Along with the resurrection of this blog, I'm making some other changes, and my story is below. Yogi friends, please forgive my tangent off course. I needed this outlet today.
They say that every new year is a new beginning. Who this “they” is, well I can’t say for sure, but I do know that I’ve always felt skeptical about this widely accepted notion of clean slates and starting over. Maybe it’s why I’ve never even attempted a new year’s resolution. January 1st doesn’t feel any different to me than September 24th or May 7th. Every day is just another day, one in which decisions can be made or unmade, goals can be set, and habits broken or created. While I find the idea of starting over with each new year romantic, I don’t put much actual stock behind the tradition.
Seven days in, and this new year already feels different. But, instead of new beginnings and fresh starts, I feel an emptiness that wasn’t there before; I feel weary of the year to come and a yearning to go back to the one that just came to a close.
Years are such funny things. Seemingly arbitrary counters of time, we put so much value in their dates and mark so much by the passing of their 365 days.
On January 1st, 2014, I lost a friend. That sounds so selfish, though. I didn’t lose her – she didn’t belong to me; I’m just one of many mourning her absence on this earth, wishing to remember more about the last time I saw her, the last time we laughed or waved or hugged.
Before I turned twenty, I had known more people to die than I could count on both hands, many of which, unfortunately, left us long before their time. Life’s circumstances are cruel sometimes, and I learned that again and again with each passing death, each passing friend. I considered myself close with a few of these souls; I felt their emptiness when they were gone, sad to be without them, sad that life had let them slip away. But, looking back on those emotions, those losses, those tragedies, I don’t remember ever feeling like something had been stolen from me. I don’t think I was as close with them as I once thought. Or maybe I just hadn’t grown up enough yet to understand.
But, Betsy was stolen from me. Not just me, obviously, but I feel a part of the collective crime, one of many victims of nature’s thievery.
Often after a sudden or unexpected death, I hear people comment that they took the deceased for granted, that they wish they had appreciated him or her more when they had the chance. But I don’t feel that way – I knew Betsy was special every second I got to spend with her. I felt special just to be able to see her every day, to work with her and talk with her and confide in her. I felt lucky to be able to call her my friend.
Betsy Housand was one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. She was so kind, so honest, so heart-wrenchingly selfless, I was in awe of her most of the time I was near her.
As almost 25 years my senior, I never felt the schism that generation gaps so often cause between people. I talked about her all the time to my friends and family, telling funny stories she had told me or recalling little anecdotes about how she had helped me through a rough patch at work or how we would laugh for what felt like hours over stupid celebrity gossip and dog videos. They were all always shocked when they learned I was talking about someone twice my age. But Betsy had the youngest soul I’ve ever known. She glittered.
She glittered – figuratively and literally too, as anyone who knew her will smile to recall. One of the many gifts she gave me was what she called a “glitter bug.” For those as unfamiliar with the ways of a glitter bug as I was, it looks like a sparkly bar of soap and rubs off on the skin in waxy glittery layers, imparting some of its sparkle onto its user. Betsy had quite a few interesting stories about her own glitter bug escapades that she shared upon giving me my own. I found it in my bathroom this morning and couldn’t help but smile. She loved glitter.
“What’s not to love,” she would ask. And tonight, at 12:43 in the morning, as I lie awake remembering her, I ask myself the same question. What’s not to love? For the past week, I’ve tried to ignore the gaping Betsy-shaped hole in my heart, reprimanding my grief, telling myself that I’m not worthy of mourning her, that we were just coworkers and that I shouldn’t be this upset. But, doesn’t everything feel truer after midnight? There’s nothing left to hide behind when I’m alone with the tears on my pillow.
So, this year I’ve decided will be different. I will change something, do something, be something better. Not because January 1st, 2014 is the beginning of a new year or the time for resolutions like this, but because it now marks the end of a beautiful life that deserves to have something beautiful done to be remembered by.
I’m not making any grand promises or lofty goals; I just know that if I try to act everyday with Betsy in mind, to think as she would think and love as she would love, this year will be alright. Besides, I’ve got a glittery Mohawk-donning angel to help me out now.
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