The day this picture was taken, I hadn’t showered in about a week. I’d washed my hair in a bucket at our campsite, and that was all I needed to feel fresh and so clean clean. No makeup, just the warm brown of summer skin. And about five layers of clothing because I’m a paranoid cold person! No matter how I looked, my favorite place to be was always tucked right into his arm. Rob died six days after this picture was taken. It’s the last photograph taken of the two of us together.
2019 has been full of treasured “lasts.” The hardest year of my life has become the most precious, and I wish it didn’t have to end. 2019 is the last time I stood tucked into his arm. It’s the last time I heard his voice. It’s the last time he told me that he loved me. This most difficult year now has taken on sacred dimension. It’s the year that I saw time give way to eternity. My beloved and I now stand on two different sides of that veil.
I can hang on to lots of things, but time isn’t one of them. In saying goodbye to the old year, I have to say goodbye again to Rob. His death stills feels like “now” to me. But the new year’s beginning signals that Rob’s life and death are part of what has passed. The days draw on, each one separating me further from him and from the me I used to be.
Tonight as part of our family New Year’s Eve ritual, we wrote letters to our December 31, 2020 selves. We put them away where they’ll wait out the year till delivery on the next New Year’s Eve. I’m not the same person I was in this picture, and I know I won’t be the same person who reads the letter I open a year from now. I hope as she looks back at what is now my new year, she will see a year of treasured “firsts” beautifully designed for her by the One who is the Author of all good things, the First and Last, the End and Beginning.