With cinematic space music playing through the TV, I lay in bed and watch the forty-six second video, again and again.
I watch and rewatch my cousin’s nonchalant wave, my dad’s goofy grin, my grandma’s Wii bowling near-gutter-ball, my grandpa’s critique of her hook, a camera pan to outside where in the darkness it is impossible to see my stepmom and aunt in the hot tub, a final pan to an energetic terrier, and it’s all accompanied by my uncle’s unclely narration wishing the person they knew, the person they assume me to be, the person they want me to be a Happy New Year.
The video ends, and I play it again.
I play it until I don’t need to play it because I can close my eyes and see it.
I miss them.
I don’t want to miss them, but I do.
I miss a lot of things.
I feel constantly bombarded with reminders of who I was and the life I had. The holidays haven’t helped.
I usually feel better, almost good about things.
Yet, whether, it was the forty-six second video, the epic space music, or bingeing through and refinishing 30 Rock, I am left with the weight of melancholy, of moments that remain.
I can still see/feel/hear her reaction when, instead of ending my life, I told her who I was. If time heals all wounds, I don’t know if I have left this moment. It follows me like a shade.
Other shades have loosened their hold.
I no longer constantly see my dad grasping my car door crying out about my corruptions and the demons.
I no longer constantly hear my mom tell me losing her brother was hard but dealing with what I am going through is harder before she speaks.
Some of the shades have loosened their hold. Others haven’t and, in moments like these, moments of self-doubt and self-pity, when inescapable scenes replay over and over, I ask myself was it worth it?
Was it worth the hurt and pain and misery I caused?
I can hear my brother crying out that he’s lost his brother because who I was to him died.
But, I didn’t die. I am still here. And, to me, I guess I am starting to feel that just still being here makes it worth it.
I am still tethered to moments in my past.
I am still haunted by guilt and sadness and regret, but I am still here.
I am still here, and I find that incredibly amazing.
If my fears, guilt, and anxieties keep me up through the night, I will still wake up in the morning. I will finish my piece of cheesecake. I will make a quesadilla with the greatest cheese on earth. I will get together with friends, drink, and plan professional development for the new semester.
I will do all these things because I am still here to do it.
The guilt, sadness, and regret remind me that I still have a lot of red in my ledger.
The entire year is ahead.
Whatever happened happened.
But, the future has yet to unfold, and though storm clouds are gathering on the horizon, I am still here.
So, 2017, let’s get started.