I was going to begin this post with an apology - an apology for not being funny. All the other posts on this blog are humorous. I hope...
But then I realised: life isn't always funny. I'm not always funny. My life is often hysterically ridiculous, but can also be tough, painful, desperately sad, confusing and mundane. And your life, no doubt, is the same.
Last year was a very difficult year for me and I was thrilled to see in the new decade. I celebrated with a small group of very close friends, and enjoyed every minute of our little party. The kids played, the adults ate and drank, and we all gathered together in the wind to watch the fireworks explode.
And then at midnight, I thought of my sister.
2010, I thought. She will never see 2010.
My sister didn't see 2009, either, or 2008. She died at the end of 2007, just before my daughter was born. But every year is another year she will never see. And this is the first decade I have welcomed in without her.
My sister will never see my new house. She won't see my son start his new school. She won't see my daughter go to creche, or my big girl play the violin. She won't laugh or sing or cry or watch TV or travel or get outraged at some injustice or argue over the dinner table ever again.
I miss my sister. Whenever anything happens that I normally would share with her, my first instinct is still to call her. When Michael Jackson died. When Joe Perrone came onto Twitter. When a highly non-maternal acquaintance of ours became pregnant. My reflex is to reach for the phone, to gossip with her about it. Then I remember she's not around.
Then there is the guilt, the guilt that accompanies all my happiness. Why should I experience such good fortune, such bounty, when she is unable to? I got the children, the husband, the home, the friends, the life. Why me? Why did I get so lucky and she lost it all?
A friend once advised me to be happy for both of us, to grasp for myself all the joy my sister will never be able to have. That, said my friend, is what my sister would have wanted. But it doesn't work like that. You can't live for someone else, any more than you can give them your own life.
We all have just one life to live. I have mine, you have yours. Whatever good fortune, or grief, comes our way, we have to move through it, and move forward. We're here for such a short time, and anything can happen. And we all deserve to be as happy as we possibly can.
So for anyone who has lost someone, have a beautifully happy new year.
And for those who have not, good. Hug your loved ones, have a great new year, and enjoy.