Friday, January 1, 2010

Old Dramas End

As a quick introductory note (and as a future resolution), the next time I start a blog or any other major project, I won’t time it so that I hit two major holidays within a week of each other and within less than a month of starting the project. Everybody clear? Clear. Cool.

Abigail Zuger recently reviewed George A. Bonanno’s nonfiction book The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss for The New York Times (see In glossing over Bonanno’s book, Zuger writes about different reactions to the death of relatives—anger, fluctuations in mood, seemingly abnormal behavior such as an orphaned child smiling at the graveside. But there is a positive side to death and to life moving on; Zuger writes, “And some [mourners] realize early on that their lives have actually improved. The consuming worry about incurable illness is over. Old dramas end.”

This is perhaps an odd topic to introduce on New Year’s Day, but as of the time that I’m posting this--the ball dropping at Times Square in NYC, folks popping corks as champagne fizzes out of slender-necked bottles, phone networks clogging with calls like arteries with cholesterol as friends and family ring each other to ring in the New Year--we aren’t just celebrating the birth of a New Year. We’re moving on from the troubles and the tribulations of the year past, but we’re also mourning the loss of those great memories--new friends, new loves, excellent times with old friends and with family, exciting thoughts that spark the wick of thought like a match blazing bright.

Because, really, the glow of that match isn’t there anymore, at least not temporally speaking. That light continues to cast off warmth as a memory--comforting, but somehow a little hollow as that feeling of nostalgia singes the edges of the heart. We have the recollections of the past year, for good or for bad, and despite our coping mechanisms for losing 2009 (be that aggrandizing the year or lamenting it, cursing others or praising others, dwelling on it or moving on from it), we move on, forward, and then here we are! Twenty-ten/two thousand ten/two-aught-one-aught: Call it what you will.

The old dramas of twenty-aught-nine are over, and it’s time to see what 2010 will bring.


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