Don't worry, the state of marriage is fine, if that's what you were wondering. No, I'm referring to one of the requirements of the American president which has been in place since the Constitution was written - he must appear before Congress every January to deliver a speech on the state of the Union. I don't do resolutions at the beginning of the year - I'm sure I did once, but I never kept them - but there is something about turning the page to a new year that makes one reflect on the past year and look towards the new one. We rarely get "do overs" in this life, but we do sometimes get a fresh start, and for me January is one of those times to close one chapter and open a new one.
I've got to come clean with you. Everyone blogs for different reasons and goodness knows there are others who write more eloquently of living in a foreign country and as much as I like to think it is, this blog is not a real journal in the truest sense. It is heavily filtered and the censoring committee (i.e. me) is particularly strict. While this adventure I've been living for the past two years and some change has been phenomenal and I wouldn't change it, the truth is that this past year and most of the year before it have been an utter nightmare. I spent my entire life, excepting the four years I was at college, not more than an hour away from my parents and the minute I stepped one foot out of the country they proceeded to fall ill and die, one right after the other. I tell you without exaggeration that not one day has passed since my mother fell ill that I haven't thought about them. Some days it's just a fond memory of something one of them said or a joke we shared. Other days I am wracked with guilt that I wasn't there for either of them when they needed most. Most of the time I just wish I could hear their voices just one more time.
Writing about these things in detail would only serve to torture me and try your patience. Can you imagine if I did? Today Vivi's mourning: I can't remember a minuscule detail about our family history and I can't call Mom; she would know without hesitation or better yet Watching my father-in-law holding my baby niece in his arms and knowing my father will never do the same with his own grandchildren is more than I can bear. And yet these last two months since my father died have been like walking through a fog. I've lost all sense of direction and focus; I can hardly remember three tasks I set out to do in the morning.
The best way I can describe it is like riding on a boat at sea. Sometimes the seas get a little rough and it's all I can do to hang on and ride it out. Sometimes the sea is too calm and I'm as listless as a sailboat without wind. Sometimes the sun is shining I've got the wind at my back and it's full speed ahead. They say that time heals all wounds and I'm inclined to believe them. Little by little, I'm experiencing more sunny days, though the seas do get a bit choppy now and then.
Maybe you can see why I'm so anxious to turn the page and start a new chapter. My heart is still broken but it's time to look ahead. I can't help but feel like good things are coming. I don't know what they are yet, but I'm on the watch for them. It could be a new address, or maybe I'll stop looking for work and start making my own, or, "God willin' and the creek don't rise," a new addition to our family. I'm open to it all. Here, at the beginning of a chapter, at the top of a fresh page, all things seem possible.