This past weekend I went up to my friend’s house in Worthington, MA to bring in the New Year. He offered and I jumped so fast that I’m surprised he didn’t rescind from fear. If he had asked what I was running from, I would have had to answer, “My life.” Luckily, he didn’t. I’ve had two of the worst years. “Crappy years.” My Cousin Carol has deemed them. I could define them in worse terms. I wanted to start the year far, far away from where the last two began. Shake the bad karma that seems to be sticking like dog poop on new shoes.
Last year on 1/1/11 I found myself sitting in a psych ward with my Aunt Lucy. She mentally bottomed out in the preceding holiday season and had been admitted days before to bring in the New Year. I was assigned visiting her on the very first shift in January. My sister Lisa came with me and we three sat in the corner of South Oaks Hospital. They have a unit specific for Geriatric patients. Wrapped in a hot pink fuzzy blanket Aunt Lucy seemed to be fading in and out. Now and then she’d reach out to me but she was so heavily drugged her hands never made it to the intended target. She was whispering in a groggy voice too.
“Mae, Mae, Mae. I’m so very sorry.” Aunt Lucy had a whiney whisper.
“What are you sorry for Aunt Lucy?”
“Remember that scrapbook you gave me one Christmas?”
I did remember the scrapbook. Hours of thought had gone into the purchasing of that gift. I had given it to her in an attempt to awaken her long lost artistic bend. The book was beautiful with a green leather cover and crème pages within that you could paste or write on. I gave her pencils too thinking she might want to try sketching.
“Why yes Aunt Lucy, I do remember.”
“Well, I wrote horrible things about you in it. I wrote horrible things about all of you. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. It will destroy the family.”
Lisa sat on one side of Aunt Lucy and I sat on the other. We locked eyes. Part of me wanted to scream at the top of my lungs and the other part wanted to howl in laughter. Since I was sitting in a psych ward, it seemed prudent to just sit there locking eyes with Lisa.
It was then that Aunt Lucy gave me her diamond earrings. “They will only get stolen in a place like this.” I took them and put them in an envelope I had been carrying. “I’ll give them back to you when you are better.” I was in mid sentence when I realized her mind had already drifted out of the room.
We later found the book in her apartment and it had nothing legible written in it. Lisa had made a point of looking for it. Curiosity being the driving force. Neither of us could imagine the crimes we had committed that Aunt Lucy was determined to journal. Whatever they were, they were lost in illegible scribbles. As for me, I had reconstruction surgery for my breasts in a matter of weeks. My mind had turned more selfishly to my own needs.
This year I watched the sun rise on 2012 in a comfy bed in the Berkshire’s. I awoke just as it was coming over the ridge. Two 8 paned windows across from my bed looked out over two fields. The one in the distance has cows in it later in the day. In the quiet I just breathed a prayer, “Let it be a dull, quiet and happy year. Please let me leave it with as many body parts as I entered it with. Lastly, let all of us including Aunt Lucy have that wonderful peace that happens when the days march by in the rhythm of routine.”
I am pleased to report that day 2 of the year 2012 has been delightfully dull! I’m wishing the same for you.