“Now the stage is bare and I’m standing there
With emptiness all around
And if you won’t come back to me
Then make them bring the curtain down.
Is your heart filled with pain, shall I come back again?
Tell me dear, are you lonesome tonight?”— Elvis Presley
It’s new year’s eve, it’s party time for most people including friends and family. I don’t begrudge them but it’s just that I feel far far away from gaiety of any sort. What do you say about a year in which you lost your reason for living but are not dead yet. I guess this is what death feels like while being still alive.
I have lived through an impossible year and the coming year will not be any easier. We spent the last new year’s eve in a hospital room but at least we were together. I remember looking out from the window of our room that night and seeing the city lights and decorations. Suddenly I felt extremely sorry for ourselves, something inside broke.
I had been acting strong for far too long. The pent up emotions surged like a ravaging storm and broke through the facade I had been putting up. I broke down, I couldn’t understand why we were going through so much while the world outside could just get on with their lives and party.
There are moments when human strength fails, for me it was one such moment. I was tired, frustrated and exhausted from months of treatments, unimaginable stress and lengthy hospital stays. I’m not particularly proud of how I behaved that night. She was always the stronger one and even on that night, it didn’t change.
From her hospital bed, she called out to me. She held my hand and with a look of fierce determination told me that we were going to beat the disease and reclaim our life. She told me something I will always remember as long as I live – “2015 will be our year”.
When I think about that new year’s eve, it always strikes me how strong she was. But the reality today is that she’s not there and I’m on my own. There’s no one who can hold my hand and say that it will get better. I feel alone and empty. 2015 is not going to be our year. There’s no our now, but only me.
Today I’m not frustrated that I’m missing out on life. Without her, I have no yearning for the trappings of life out there. I’m carrying on not because I want to but because I have been given no other choice. With the passage of time, I have slowly learned to live alone. I don’t yearn for company as much as I did earlier.
Much of what defined life earlier seems to have melted away in the aftermath. Weekends are as good as the weekdays, the end of a vacation doesn’t give me any blues just like the start of it didn’t bring in any anticipation.
The thought of going through new years eve gave me the jitters. I remembered the years of the past – our first new year’s eve after marriage spent in Disney land or the memorable fireworks in Chicago, the one spent quietly at home with our new born son. I could recall exactly how and what we did each new year’s eve.
Today I didn’t go over to the party area in our apartment complex because I remember her dancing away the night in the same spot two years ago. I chose to have a quiet night alone at home. My broken insides cannot handle anything more.
I ask myself what is so special about tonight. There are so many other nights I feel like this. I guess I feel cheated that the world gets to go on while we are abandoned. She’s not even here and I’m here but just a shell.
Tonight I think about all the people going into the new year without their loved ones and it brings tears to my eyes. I feel their pain, their longing and their desperation. I also know that despite having gone through the suffering of a lifetime our paths don’t get any easier.
There are no new beginnings or fresh starts for us. Our losses are permanent and part of who we are today. The cliches of new year are meaningless to us. And yet we march on to another day and another year. I’m not leaving her in 2014 for time doesn’t define the connection we have. The love we experienced in this lifetime is timeless.
I had everything and then life cheated on us and took away everything. I have a picture of her from the night two years ago. I took that picture at 1145pm and there she is dancing away the last minutes of the year. I look at the picture tonight and I can see her face radiant with joy and happiness. My only wish is that she’s experiencing the same joy tonight. It’s the only thought that can get me through the night.