december 31, 2022.
For years I associated New Year's Eve with the trip to Kansas my then boyfriend and I took. My parents were already there, spending the New Year with family and friends back home. The plan was for him and I to drive there on New Year's Eve, visit with my parents and family for a bit, and then go stay with my best friend and her fiancé. The morning of the trip my mother called me, already in Kansas, and asked me to go to her home and get her Aunt Ruth’s giant diamond ring. I groaned and asked her if she really needed to have this ring for New Year's Eve and she said she did. I’ll never forget driving over to her home and thinking that that was the oddest request she has ever asked of me but could not figure out if she had ulterior motives with it.
Turns out, she did. It was her way of telling me that she knew I was going to be asked by my boyfriend that night to marry him. He had visited them a couple of weeks prior at their home and asked for my hand in marriage, to which they happily obliged.
To think now of how excited she must have felt for me that night makes me sick.
Today, on this New Year’s Eve 2022, I’ve barely recalled that it’s the night I got engaged, the night I said yes to the devil. I haven’t remembered how happy I was that night, unable to sleep because I just stared wide-eyed at this diamond on my hand, stunned someone wanted to marry me.
I thought I made it through the worst with Christmas, as far as the loss of my mother goes. I even went two days after it without crying. This morning I had to reset the timer on days I weep like a child because I found the box of party hats, glitter leis, silver tiaras, and gold horns my mom left here last year on New Years Eve, telling me to use them this year.
Who knew a box full of party supplies would annihilate me? Who knew dates on the calendar were so powerful?
The tears started immediately, and then the memories of this past year flooded in like I was dying and seeing my life flash before my eyes.
There was her, here, posing for a picture with a tiara and lei on, with the kids, and then she was in the hospital dying. Everything in between is still too hazy to make sense of and I can only go off what I was documenting in real time.
I know this time last year I was oblivious to what was about to happen to me and my mother, both individually and together, and I find it ironic because that’s exactly what happened on the New Year's Eve I got engaged, oblivious to the hell I faced.
I know this time last year the person who promised me the world and who knew everything about me, my story, my soul, my closest friend, and a man who said he loved me was about to blindside and betray me.
I know after that my mother took a turn for the worse and she died, and I still have the cheeseburger she ate from the last family dinner we had the day before she went to the hospital to die in my freezer like some kind of freak. But I cannot bring myself to throw it away.
I know an angel appeared in between all of this and I heard his voice for the first time from the fourth floor of the hospital outside of my mother’s room where she was quickly fading, blood coming from places it wasn’t supposed to come from. I know he carried me through. I know he was the first person who I told I was going to speak at her funeral. I know he was who I turned to from the floor of the hotel bathroom as I sat in the dark, on the cold tile, leaning against the bathtub, crying like a baby, and not making a lick of sense. I know he stayed with me patiently and let me just grieve. I know he bought the white lilies that hung at the highest point in the center of the wall behind her casket that I stared at when I could no longer look at what held my mother (although, at the time I had no clue they were from him). I know that he held me one day and said he saw me as he stared into my eyes. I know there is a man out there that loves me and saved me. I know that I love him and saved him.
I know I’ve spent the past six months alone and in utter hell. For the first time in my life I haven’t sought validation from another. It has been me, myself, and I.
And you know what? I am goddamn proud of myself.
All of that, all of what I know to be true from 2022, from the dark night of my soul to finding my soul, I made it and I learned who I was, at my core.
There were times I was so weak I had to will my muscles to move. There were times I cursed God and all the creations He made. There were times I wanted to just disappear into the darkness.
But I am the light.
Everything that happened this year, the worst and best year of my life, has solidified that Truth for me.
I am the light.