Last night – New Year’s Eve, 2015 – I went to bed before midnight, as I’ve done in the previous three New Year’s Eve. And not just because it was the smart thing to do, given my age.
When I was still living at home – my mother and I used to stay up late on most New Year’s Eves, waiting for the old year to end and the new year to start, when things were a lot simpler for us. But sooner or later, such simpler times have to come to an end – and especially when both time and age catch up with you. In 2012, my family became greatly concerned about my mother’s declining physical and mental health, given the fact that she was in her mid-eighties at that time – and how her demands and needs were already putting a strain on me, since I’ve lived at home with her for most of my life. On New Year’s Eve in 2012, when Edward came over to the family home, my mother gave vent to the then-recent changes in her life (as she had for a good portion of 2012 – and beyond), as if she believed that my family was trying to undermine her own independence – but which only served to confirm my family’s fears and concerns – which resulted in a violent argument between Mother and Edward, which greatly upset me to the point of breaking into tears, as if things had changed for the worst. As a result, I decided to go to bed with a heavy heart and not celebrate the end of 2012 and the start of 2013 – with the sobering realization that things weren’t about to get better for Mother.
Almost a year after that, things greatly changed for Mother for good – so much that she could never live at home again, leaving me to hold the fort for almost the next two years. Which meant that I spent New Year’s Eve, 2013 at my brother Bill’s house in Tolland, Connecticut – and New Year’s Eve, 2014 alone at my parents’ home, over a week before I moved out of it for good (and my parents’ house was sold over a month after that), knowing it was time for me to get on with my life, and that the past was already beyond my reach, except in memory.
As for the next time I’ll be able to spend a New Year’s Eve night staying up until the start of the new year – I can’t answer that question, just like I can’t predict which way my life will go as 2016 begins. But then, that’s part of life – in which we don’t know what the outcome will truly be, as when and where it’ll take place. And all we can do is hope and pray that our lives, at least, won’t be as complicated and troubling as they’ve been in the past – even at the start of a new year.
John Lavernoich is the author of five books (including not only the first two Chameleons, Inc. novels, but also his most recent, Memories Of My Youth), as well as various non-fiction articles and short stories that have been published in print and on the Internet. To learn more about Mr. Lavernoich and his various creative accomplishments, please check out the following websites listed below:
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