Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Of Years Old and New

It's been forever...

Dozens of posts started and abandoned, written in my head, in the shower, never making it to screen or paper...

I can't say "I'm back!" Because I don't know if I'll be able to do this again tomorrow...

But I'm here today.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, indeed.

Telling you that I want to write again, that I need to...

That I feel diminished in the not writing, that I miss my voice, too. (Thank you so much to all who have written words of encouragement whenever I have chanced to scratch out a post, these past desert-dry months.)

This has been a tough year.

In a little over two weeks, it will be exactly one year since I lost my mother. (January 17th, to be precise.)

It feels like both yesterday and forever ago that I held her hand, watched her die, wept my goodbye.

I have been treading lightly on this earth ever since, simultaneously here and not here,  Gratefully bound by love and obligation to those, my family (sons, husband, cat), whose need for my presence keeps me tethered in the now, I am nonetheless also floating in the ether, stretching out my open, empty hand toward my mother who keeps drifting farther beyond, never again to reach back and claim it.

I know I need to return, fully, to my life; that this dual, quantum existence cannot spin on indefinitely. I am a paler reflection of my old, colorful self and my family deserves more. I deserve more.

And yet I also know this mourning is a process that I need to go through to come out the other side. There is no around. No shortcut. No easy out. Only through.

I am hoping the year's anniversary will spiral me upward, into a higher orbit, the next stage of mourning that spins me out toward the future.


Tonight I gave away my mother's beanie babies.  A woman of normally impeccable, modern, sophisticated taste, she nonetheless had a soft spot for stuffed animals in general, and beanie babies in particular. She thought them "cute" and had amassed quite a collection of them before, I believe, my father threatened (idly) to divorce her if she purchased any more.

In the many downsizing moves I had boxed them up, except for a few that followed her into the nursing home - a beanie cat perched here, a flamingo there - on her paltry few furnishings.

I don't really want them (except for her favorite cat and flamingo) and yet could not bear to throw them out, so they became yet another box cluttering up our overstuffed apartment, the belongings of the dead commingled with the living.

And then tonight, New Year's Eve, we had an invitation to a party, for the first time in ages. A simple thing really, just three families, hanging out together, but so right for us. My friend who was hosting has three daughters; the middle one has a shortly upcoming birthday and loves nothing in the world so much as stuffed animals.

And so it came to pass that in addition to the champagne, strawberries and sparkling cider we brought to the party, came an enormous box of beanie babies.  Watching the sheer delight wash over my friend's daughter as she unearthed bear after bird after kangaroo from that box made my heart flutter.

My mother loved children so much (I'm sure it was part of her attraction to the beanie creatures, her real baby having left home so long ago) and I know that nothing would have made her happier than seeing her collection lighting up the world of a little girl.


We raised our glasses of champagne and cider to toast the new year as fireworks began to burst and boom in nearby Central Park.

And so I raise my glass to you, my friends and readers....

To a New Year, sweeter than the bitter one that has just come to its end.

May there be joy for us all. And healing hearts.

And fireworks, brightly hued and full of spangle; shimmering in the darkness, lighting up our midnights.


  1. You've heard that we can't take proper care of our children without first taking care of ourselves. Take care of you, Varda. Do whatever you have to to get your spark for life back. Your mom would want you to!

  2. Happy New Year, Varda. May this year bring you some peace as you grieve.

  3. Happy 2014. May it be the year that finds you settled and content.

  4. Oh, God, Varda, I love you. This post made me cry so hard. It's beautiful. I just imagine your mom, wherever she is now, smiling so broadly as that little girl enjoys her beanie babies.

    I hope this year brings healing and joy for you.

  5. Your precious gift passed on to the future would make Syl both smile & gently sob ( a woman of mixed emotions, not hidden from us). I too still have one of her Beanie Babies, a white mouse, with the addition of a red plastic heart necklace. She keeps me company when I'm on the computer. And reminds me of the step mother we both loved.
    May this one year anniversary bring you closer to the closure you crave & deserve, surrounded by loving friends and family.

    (can't seem to shake my anonymous but you know it's Lois.)

  6. I know your mom is smiling right now, at the mere vision of a little girl embracing her beanie bear collection. You are in my heart, my friend.

  7. Missed reading your posts, glad you found it in you to post one yesterday. When you are ready, will be glad to read more!

  8. Hello, dear Varda. Happy New Year. It is a great pleasure to hear from you!

  9. How lovely to imagine your mother seeing her Beanies make a child smile. I hope 2014 is gentle to you and yours.

  10. I wish I knew what to say. I'm sorry.


I am so sorry to have to turn word verification back on, but the spam-bots have found me - yikes!