2012: A Crappy New Year
Posted by Mishi Methven on Jan 02, 2012
2012: A Crappy New Year
"The only thing worse than 2011, is 2012!"
Such is how Aimee and I ushered in the new year.
It's a strange thing to be on the cusp of a new year, traditionally a time of new beginnings, new hope, plans, goals, etc. and know that the thing you will face in the New Year is the death of your oldest child.
In 2012 Stella's vibrant laugh, curls that frame her face, cherubic cheeks and mischievous grin will be reduced to a pile of grey ashes that will be sprinkled with tears on the hard ground across the street from Riverdale Farm.
2012 will be the number engraved on the plaque that will delineate her final resting place. It will say: Stella Joy Bruner-Methven 2009-2012
2012 is the year we will rage against the fates, fall to our knees in despair and scream at the sky as we watch the cancer continue to ravish our beautiful baby.
2012 will be the year the money runs out, the year my school will tell me I've lost my place in the program I worked for years to be accepted to, the year my dreams fall apart.
2012 will be seared into our memories as the year we held Stella as the life slowly slipped out of her, as the swallowing and breathing became more and more difficult until finally her little body gave up.
2012 will be marked by tears, anger, grief, heartbreak, fear.
For some reason, I have found the New Year to be much more difficult than Christmas to get through. I remember last New Year so clearly, and all the New Year's before that. In 2009 we eagerly awaited her birth. In 2010 I was returning to work after maternity leave and was nervous about the transition. In 2011 Stella was running all around, jumping and playing and Aimee and I were excited about the prospect of growing our family (although Aimee wasn't pregnant with Sam yet). We spent all of New Year's Day listening Aimee play the guitar and Stella was dancing and singing. I remember the highlight was when we put on Bon Jovi (Aimee's favourite), and Stella danced and my two girls rocked out to it at the table while we laughed and ate and planned our lives. This year a shadow of Stella was here, sitting on the couch eating avocado. Next year there will be only a warm breeze marking where she once laughed, danced, sat and lived. It's horrifying to think about.
Some days I find I can be quite philosophical about life and death and losing Stella, but not on New Year's. New Year's is too much of a reminder of all we stand to lose. It's a cruel chorus that sings in the wind, whistling about all the goals and dreams that cancer has stolen from us. 2012 has barely begun and already I hate it. The only thing I can hope for is that by this time next year my broken heart will be kept together by clumsily sewed stitched made with the threads of love I have for my family, my friends and myself.
2012 will simply be about our survival through the worst thing imaginable.
I'm not a big believer in Star Signs. I don't really know what all the different signs mean, and I rarely, if ever, read my horoscope. But for some reason, maybe because of the new year, I picked up the newspaper and read it. Here is my horoscope for the year 2012, as published in the Toronto Star:
So, here you are, starting the New Year in a position that you are not completely sure you want to be in. There are aspects of your situation that you like and many things to be grateful for; yet there are many factors that you feel uncomfortable about. It seems as if life has been less than fair and you must now deal with circumstances that you resent. You can let this bug you or you can rise above it. Actually, you don't have a choice! Accept, trust and prepare for a year that brings surprisingly deep joy.
and here is the beginning of Aimee's:
"If you're lost you can look and you will find me, time after time…" Cyndi Lauper's wonderful anthem of hope and promise, remains as fresh and relevant today, as it has ever been. It contains a special message for you…
Another example of how when you are lost in the labyrinth of fear of the unknown, you can grasp at anything. This horoscope suddenly meant a lot to me. I was looking for something---anything---that told me that I would survive 2012, and there it was in black and white print, delivered to my doorstep at 5:33am as I sat feeding Sam this morning. Even as someone who doesn't put a lot of stock into these things, I feel as though I can take these horoscopes and use them as a reminder that even amongst the deepest grief, joy can thrive. If I remember correctly, that's the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhism. The lotus flower grows in mud and murky water, but the blossom rises above the dirt and opens into the sun. It's meant to represent the true nature of humans who rise through the journey (i.e. cycle of birth, death, rebirth), into enlightenment.
2011 was bad, although it will also be remembered as the year Sam came into our life. 2012 will be worse than 2011. But, here's to hoping that by 2013 Aimee and I will have begun to emerge from the murky mud and feel the sunshine on our faces once again.
Until then, Crappy New Year everyone.
January 1, 2009: 5 1/2 months Pregnant. We hadn't met Stella yet, but we already loved her:
January 1, 2010: Stella Partying:
JANUARY 1, 2011: Aimee and Stella Rock Out:
JANUARY 1, 2012: Sleeping Stella