“I don’t know where to begin. I’m in over my head again. I don’t know where to begin. How far can a heart even bend?”Jenny & Tyler

Ready or not, here it comes. 2017.

As I wrote yesterday, I have very mixed feelings about saying goodbye to 2016. Last year changed me exponentially in ways I could have never imagined. It was the year that made me a mother to my precious Alexander. It was the year that I got to see, hold, and touch him. It was the year that broke me into a million pieces. It was the year that I learned about relying on others to help me to pick up those pieces and put them back into something new and different. It was the year that I learned more about grief than I ever wanted to know. It was the year that I really really learned how unpredictable, fragile, and precious life is.

In many ways, 2016 feels like it was three separate lifetimes: one immeasurably happy lifetime spent pregnant with Alexander from January 1 – July 4; one devastating beyond belief spent in the hospital from July 5 – July 11; and one lifetime of trying to re-learn everything from how to get out of bed in the morning and get dressed, to how to navigate every single relationship in the aftermath of losing our son from July 11 – December 31. Three. Separate. Lifetimes. I have never in my life felt such a massive separation from who I was a year ago on January 1.

Last night, we gathered with some dear friends to finish out 2016 and ring in the new year. As midnight approached, I felt it. The lump in my throat. The tears perched on the corners of my eyes, ready to escape. The overwhelming sense of how different this year should have been. I was missing Alexander. I was missing the person I was three lifetimes ago last New Year’s Eve. I toasted with champagne and kissed my rock of a husband when the clock struck midnight. I watched the kids at the party attack Scott with streamers and noisemakers and party gear, and him wrestle them and tickle them and just be the incredible dad that he is. I sat pretty still, surrounded by the celebrations and cheering and laughter–so grateful to be among friends and in a place where it was safe for me to allow the changing of the year be exactly what it needed to be.

(And, just in case you were worried or wondering, I did laugh last night. A lot. I smiled. I played games with the kids. I chatted with friends in groups and one-on-one. I played euchre and and had a great time with our friends and their kids. Sure, I missed my sweet boy and had moments where I just needed to take some deep breaths, but that’s how grief works. Even in the midst of life’s happiest and most joy-filled moments, there is an air of sadness. Because my son whom I love more than anything or anyone in the whole world. My son who made me a parent and altered my being forever. My son is missing out on these joy-filled moments. And so, sometimes when I am laughing and smiling and enjoying life, that laughter and those smiles are juxtaposed against a deep sadness of missing him. It’s just the way life is in the aftermath of such a significant loss.)

So now, here we on the edge of a new year. And, in many ways I don’t even know where to begin.

As the calendar changes from December 2016 to January 2017, I recognize that I am still going to have hard days. I’m still going to have really hard days. In the next week and a half, we will come up on six month milestones since we learned Alexander’s heart was no longer beating, and since we held our sweet boy in our arms. This year, we will celebrate Alexander’s first birthday without him. Who knows what the coming year will bring. In many ways, I hope that it will be better than the last. I hope that it will be a year of continued healing, and continuing to see the ripple effects of our sweet boy’s short life.

I’ve been listening to this song by Jenny & Tyler over and over again over the past week–a week that has been overwhelming and difficult as I reflect on the past year and try so hard to look forward with hope and with eyes that are trained to see light even in the deepest darkness. I’ve been listening to Jenny & Tyler for years–since the days when they produced all their own music and played shows exclusively in people’s basements for tiny audiences. When I first heard this song about a month ago, I couldn’t even finish it. Since then, I’ve listened to it more times than I can count, allowing my soul to be steeped in the music and lyrics. Words of heartbreak and words of hope. Words and music that I am allowing to pull me into the new year.

“I don’t know where to begin, but this heart’s gonna mend. I’ve got to begin.”

 

I fear I’ve failed you
And I haven’t met you
I didn’t think that I could
Not so soon

I don’t want to hurt you
Don’t want to desert you
I just want to love you
What can I do

I don’t know where to begin
I’m in over my head again
I don’t know where to begin
How far can a heart even bend

I felt you moving
Kicking and dancing
I loved watching
You come alive

My heart fell to pieces
When you said I couldn’t
Give you all you needed
All that I hoped to

I don’t know where to begin
I’m in over my head again
I don’t know where to begin
How far can a heart even bend
I don’t know where to begin
I can’t make it make sense
Where to begin

My desire was greater than I ever knew
My heart, it broke harder than I thought it could
Oh God, what a mess this is
What a mess this is

I don’t know where to begin
I don’t know where to begin

I don’t know where to begin
I’m in over my head again
I don’t know where to begin
Or how this is gonna end
I don’t know where to begin
But this heart’s gonna mend
I’ve got to begin

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2 thoughts on “Where to Begin.

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