The past year of my life has been full of unbelievable circumstances and life changing events. If someone would have asked last new years day what my life would look like today I couldn't have told them, and certainly couldn't have fathomed it would consist of what it does!
Last new years day my dad and I were in Brooklyn. Though it was bitter cold we walked through Brooklyn Heights to the promenade and gazed across to Manhattan then hopped on the train and found ourselves having tea and sandwiches in one of my very favorite places, The Adore, near NYU. That night we once again braved the cold, went down to TriBeCa and had BBQ at Bubbies then wandered up 5th Avenue to look at the department store windows and see the tree at Rockefeller. All of those things feel like a lifetime ago. In fact when I think of them it feels as though I am watching them unfold on a screen, a scene from someone else's life. We were still very much in shock from my mom's death and I think were just going through the motions. I have pictures of us in front of the christmas tree in Rockefeller Plaza and there are smiles on our faces but there are no smiles in our eyes.
To be perfectly honest I couldn't have told you with any certainty a year ago that I would still be here today. The thought of living a whole year without my mom was unimagineable. It seemed impossible. How are you supposed to go on living when your life feels like it is over?
But here I am. Here we are. Still alive and learning to live again.
Everyone who has ever written or spoken about grief and losing a loved one talks about starting new traditions after you've lost someone. This becomes especially important around the holidays because for many doing what you've always done feels wrong and empty. We didn't celebrate Christmas this year and all the excitement around New Year's Eve seemed like "so what?!" but we are trying and have started some new traditions of our own.
Previous to my dad's new years trip to NY he had also come out in October to visit me and we had eaten our way around the city as I dragged him from one favorite place to another. We had such an enjoyable time and I think it was the first trip we took with just the two of us (I guess it wasn't techinically a trip because I lived there, but it felt like one). One of the highlights was showing him the Lower East Side; visiting Russ and Daughters, going into a tiny hat shop, looking at the tenement buildings and imagining NYC in a different lifetime, and eating at Katz's Deli.
I am happy to report that our first attempt at matzo ball soup was successful (with the exception of the recipe just not calling for nearly enough broth for the matzo balls to swim in!) and that there is a deli in Fort Collins that is nothing like Katz's but has some pretty tasty pastrami and giant crispy pickles that will stand in in a pinch. So our dinner last night was not quite like going to Katz's but it was tasty and gave us the opportunity to reminisce about a time when we were there eating pastrami on rye, sour pickles, and a big bowl of steaming soup under a sign dangling from the ceiling that says "Send a salami to your boy in the army" (said with a NY accent so it sounds like "send a Sah-lami to your boy in the Ah-mi"!) and remembering a time when everything was still right with the world and the future was hopeful.
We have made it through a year without my mom. It is still unbelieveable and feels impossible. I can't fathom what my life will consist of a year from now but I can say, at least for myself, the future once again holds a bit of hope and if nothing else goes the way I plan at least I know have the certainty of what I will be eating next New Year's Eve!