I wouldn't say that I was "depressed" at 11:30pm on December 31, 2011, but I wasn't exactly polishing up my noise maker either.
"Heavy" is the word that is coming to mind. Glum. Mostly heavy.
I had lost my much loved, vibrant Grandmother in early December, and mourning her had hit me even harder than I had expected.
[Incidentally, why do we mourn*? I get that we are sad, but can we name WHY?
Are we sad for the person we loved and lost, or are we sad for ourselves? If we believe our lost loved one is in a better place (I do), are we grieving the fact that he or she will be denied any future life experiences, or are we actually criplingly fearful that we will never be able to feel whole again--esentially mourning our own happiness?
I'd wager that it's both (and circumstantial), and that there are distinctly different ways of addressing each, but in regards to today's post, this rogue tangent is neither here nor there.]
My point is that I was feeling analytically heavy on New Year's; the loss of my grandmother had left me reflecting thoroughly on life in general, her life, and mine.
Was Memere content with her life when she passed? Would she have done things differently? What led her to make the decisions she had made throughout life? In some ways, she had followed in the footsteps of the generations who had come before her. In other ways, she had followed her heart, abandoned the path that had seemingly been paved for her, and created a new destiny for herself.
And what about me? Yes, I am generally very happy with where I am in life, but how have I shaped my expectations for myself? Did I shape them simply from a combination of love, precedence, inertia, and risk-avoidance? Or could I say unwaveringly that I have followed my calling and done EVERYTHING my soul has encouraged me to do?
You know, in the movies, when somebody is about to die, and they flash through a bunch of scenes from that person's life? Well, if that really happens, then when I die (hopefully a very long time from now), I think 12:05am on 1/1/12 will be one of those scenes.
When we were not sleeping by 11:55pm on New Year's Eve (although we had fully intended to be…I mean, you see one ball drop and you've seen them all, am I right or am I right?), my husband suggested we turn on the tv to watch the countdown.
Watching the celebration in Times Square, I felt detached. Not depressed…quietly hopeful, in fact. But definitely. Completely. Detached. And heavy.
That was until 12:05am when NBC played Beyonce's, "I was here," and every hair on my body sprung to full attention.
I knew I had work to do.
Listen to this song. Crank the volume. REALLY crank it.
[audio http://www.bethanyo.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/I-was-here1.mp3] [Beyonce - Live at Roseland - click here for youtube video.]
Now tell me what you need to do, so that at the end of your life, these words** will hold true for you:
I want to say I lived each day until I die
And know that I meant something in somebody's life
The hearts I have touched will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see
I was here
I lived, I loved
I was here
I did, I've done everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know
I was here.
That's what I'm going to say at the end of my life. And I think it's what Memere would have said of hers.
*I [THANK GOD/UNIVERSE/BUDDHA/DIVINE SPIRIT/WHOMEVER IS LISTENING] am infinitely grateful to have only experienced mourning from the perspective of a grandchild. I respectfully recognize that my own reflections may seem naive to anyone who has ever lost someone who was not separated from them by a generation, and--in case the universe is listening--I beg that I remain naive on this subject for a very, very long time.