Ten o'clock is the new midnight

anticipatory grief Dec 31, 2021

Covid curfew in Quebec meant that my nana and I marked NYE together just a bit early…

A Very Nana NYE

When my brother made plans to spend the holidays with his girlfriend's family, he asked if I would be willing to stay on nana-duty for a couple weeks in December. I, a single dog mama, happily obliged, having literally nothing else to do and nowhere else to be. My brother has been our nana's primary caretaker in Montreal for many years now, and I want to do whatever I can do to support him and support her.

So, that means my new year's kiss is a 97 year old. It's my lucky night!

This NYE feels different from last year when I was crying on the couch with my husband. This NYE feels different from the year before that when my family was all together in Asheville, NC dancing the night away…and so on, my memories filled with many NYEs past.

A granddaughter shouldn't be grieving with her grandmother on New Year's Eve, but here we are. Grieving when I wish we could be celebrating: my nana with her daughter, my mom, and my grandpa, and me with my husband. But my mama and my grandpa are long gone, and my husband is my ex.

But there is beauty in this grief we are having together. Every time my nana mistakes me for my mother, for example, slips in to calling me Susan without a second thought, I get to think of my mom. I don't have any memories with my mom when she wasn't sick with cancer, since she was diagnosed when I was so young. Spending time with my grandmother means I get to hear stories about my mom long before brain cancer started its bitter march through her. I love learning about her. Nana even told me the quite traumatic story of when she gave birth to my mom. ("I shouldn't even tell you this…I don't want to put you off from ever having children." She continued anyway and I almost threw up.)

There are no clean-cut feelings over the holidays for anyone who is grieving. This New Year's Eve is an emotional stew for me of sadness over my divorce, missing my father, longing to have really known my mother…but at the same time, enjoying my nana's laugh, loving making new memories with her while hearing old ones… It's all so classically griefy.

I know that I'm not the only one grieving as we head into 2022, and that's why I'm choosing to take on Grieve Leave and share my experiences with you along the way. I hope my struggles help someone else who is struggling. Maybe that's you. Maybe that's someone you share this post with.

Let me leave y'all with my top three resolutions for 2022. I'm typically not a resolutions person, but I'm embarking on a whole new kind of self this coming year. So, here we go:

  1. Journal every day.

  2. Rephrase negative self-talk into compassion.

  3. Take time, unapologetically, to grieve.

Grieve on.

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