Goodbye Year of the Rabbit – Hello Year of the Dragon

The Year of the Rabbit is finally over. When the year started, I was expecting an amazing one. We got married during the first week and considering our love for bunnies, it shouldn’t be anything less than stellar.

Drawing by aquineth.

Not true. It’s turned out to be the worst year of my life. We lost our rabbit, Bunny, during the year. It was a no bunny policy evidently.

Then I lost my mom. And really when you lose 40% of your family in one year, the year couldn’t be any crappier. There is so much gone from our lives that we will never recover.

  • There was neither a honeymoon period in our marriage nor first year follies and funnies. Reality hit us hard from the start and all we could do was put up a great wall and wait the year out.
  • There was no first year anniversary celebration with my parents.
  • There was no joint birthday for Mom and Bunny (they shared the same birthday – ironic).
  • There was no 30th birthday with my whole family (but at least with Dad and some great friends).
  • There was no Mom to introduce our new bunny to.
  • There were no feelings for several months of the year.
  • There was no one to take care of us when we needed taking care of.
  • There was no giant fuzzball to paper shred our documents.
  • There was no fuzzball to squeeze and hold for many months.

2011 was full of heartbreak. On the positive side, it started beautifully with a wedding I can never forget. Friends who came from everywhere to be with us and celebrate. And parents who put in endless hours to make it happen. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Still bittersweet.

I read on another blog about how this girl’s 2012 started miserably. She fell sick, needed to change antibiotics twice, had her period, was sick. You know, really tragic stuff (sarcastic). I did not have the audacity to write something caustic and say, “Awww, you’re PMSing and mad. Perhaps the next 356 days will suck too!”

And then my friend told me something vexing. “I’m so proud of you. You’ve kept yourself together during all this time. I would be a total mess. Crying hysterically everyday.” Even though she meant well, her comments pissed me off. It felt that my loss wasn’t that big of a deal since I ‘controlled my feelings to the public world.’

I have not posted much about how I feel, unlike the above whiner with her PMS issues. That’s because sharing my real feelings makes me sick to my stomach. It sucks the life out of you when confronted with real emotions. I wrote a poem but haven’t brought myself to sharing it (maybe one day) with anyone.

Most people, including family, don’t know how I really feel partly because no one asks me (they do ask about Dad) and also that I don’t offer. Why confront the elephant in the room?

On top of everything, I don’t feel as social anymore. What do you talk about with people? A friend came to my birthday party and started talking about how sorry she was about my loss and I was not in the mood to discuss it. But she harped on for another five minutes before I was intercepted on a crisis with the beer cans. Everything feels awkward.

And like the whiney blogger I mentioned above, right now I have less patience for people who post petty status messages and expect others to feel sorry for them. “Omg, I broke my nail.” Or people who brag about their lives: “Omg, I have to show you all my champagne and my seat in business class. It’s the 5th time this month!” Awwww, aren’t you special.

Moving on.

For those of you who lost a mom or dad this past year, this is a toast to us. We survived the year and we will slowly make it back to reality once again. We will learn to laugh and smile, and feel the goodness within.

And for those of you who shared your stories on LiS, thank so you much. You guys are awesome. And to my friends who have checked on me and made sure I still had a pulse, I love you.

I’m going to bid the year of the rabbit farewell with relief and expect better from the year of the dragon.


8 thoughts on “Goodbye Year of the Rabbit – Hello Year of the Dragon”

  1. Hi Sapphire,

    I can totally sympathise with what you are saying. Last year sucked a lot for me too! My beloved grand-ma died, I had to severe myself from my abusive mother. I faced loads of shit.

    When those things happen, the last thing I personally want to do is to commiserate. I actually think it is a rather healthy attitude to keep your personal feelings (well, they are personal, no?) to yourself. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter how you write it: no one else but you can understand!

  2. Saph, I’m sorry to hear about your crappy year and I hope the year ahead will be much better. I hate when people write about themselves in an effort to “relate” but I’m going to do it anyway because I think its important. I lost my mom (and all 3 grandparents) when I was 10 years old, so I know what its like but not really. Its different missing someone you remember who had a big part of your life as you know it than wishing you remembered someone that should have been there. I lost an Aunt two years ago, so I can not compare the feelings and they suck equally. I suspect this is the reason I am more of a realist- I have a hard time mustering up sympathy for people, which is something you described. Its not a bad thing, I’ve come to terms with being the logical friend who has emotions but doesn’t get emotional. I don’t think its a bad thing as long as you recognize what it is. The only thing I can say is that, assuming your mom died of natural causes, and don’t be offended by me saying this, but you were lucky that she was there for your wedding day. If things were only a few months different then the happiest day of your life wouldn’t have been the same. So hold on to and treasure that memory. *hugs*

  3. I was about to say the same as megalagom. My father had a massive stroke on the day that my baby was born, so my memories of that day are very odd. The memories and pain don’t go away, they just get the corners knocked off them.

    But you know, well-wishers can’t win when you are in mourning. If they say anything, you wish they hadn’t. If they say nothing, you think they are uncaring.

  4. Thank you Lola!

    @Estelliane – I guess that’s why poetry is so fascinating: it’s the closest we can get to human emotion in the written word. Now reading Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allen Poe or Maya Angelo take on a whole new meaning.

    Am very sorry about your grandma. She must have been a very important person in your life when you had a mom who was not so. I hope you get some peace this year and move away (physically, emotionally, spatially) from her.

    @Megalagom – Haha, you “relater” you! I think you’re perfectly in your bounds to relate. I mean I can never understand what it’s like to grow up without a mother, like yourself, but I can understand that loss of a mom is very terrible and very sad.

    And you are right, I am very lucky she was there for our wedding and that I could hunt down all my friends and thousands of photos to find her.

    This has nothing to do with the comments made just now but something I have been thinking about for a while. Hopefully this will help people understand how to deal with a friend’s loss (any type of loss):

    In English (I don’t know about Swedish), there’s empathy, sympathy, and saying “sorry” just because.

    Empathy is when you can relate to the experience because of your own personal experience. Usually, your feelings are much stronger and acute because there’s some common ground (loss of moms, loss of grandparents, loss of home). These feelings create a bond between the one who relates and the one who is currently facing the experience.

    Sympathy is when you can feel sorry and pity someone else but understand the gravity of the situation. This is normally felt by people who have not experienced what the person experiences (homelessness, poverty, death). For example, when my friend’s mom died last year, it was before the passing of my mom. All I could was feel terribly sad for them and their loss because I could not relate on a personal level – that’s sympathy.

    Saying sorry is when you cannot relate to anything and just say the standard accepted protocol in the American English language. THAT gets me annoyed, when people say, “omg, I’m sorry.” You didn’t do anything wrong, admitting guilt/sorry from yourself is basically a selfish experience. Really, you should be saying sorry for someone’s loss, i.e. “I’m so sorry about your loss, this must be a hard time for you.”

    There’s also a problem with saying only, “I’m sorry” in the US today: it is an overused expression. People say, “I’m sorry” when you try to use your credit card and it fails or when you lose your history paper to a dog or when you lose your husband/wife through death. There was a time “my condolences” was used for loss of somebody, but it was too formal and went out of fashion. But the phrase is making a comeback because of social networks like Facebook.

    People say, “I’m sorry” ALL the time on facebook, but really no one means it. Now, we’re moving to the usage of heavier words in order to convey a somber tone.

    Okay, after all this rant, the point is, please don’t say only “I’m sorry” when you have friend who loses a loved one. Be a little more creative and thoughtful!

    True – it’s being caught between a rock and a hard place. But I think it depends very much on who says it and how they say it.

    Plus, being an only child means that there is a lot of pressure on you to get things done. I spend a lot of time fielding questions more than being ask about my current condition. That too gets annoying because you feel like a warden/lawyer/caretaker/POA.

    And I suppose, there’s a comfort in knowing you’re not the only one. Since these topics aren’t really dinner conversations or bar conversations, it’s hard to find someone who understands you.

  5. my nani-jaan (maternal grandmother) passed away suddenly on 2000…..she was visiting my uncles in the usa and suddenly she just *died*…(they did 2 full autopsies to rule out suspicious death as she was alone in the house,but couldnt find anything).when we heard the news from here (we live in bangladesh) ma (mother) just dropped on the floor as if she just lost the power to stand up.some hours later she went to her office for her daily work.i was very little at that time(9) and thought that ma was just cruel and cold , cause HOW come she go to her office hearing that her mother died just some hours ago??

    but later i understood what it IS to loose our most beloved belonging. ma is just someone who thought it will bother others if she is expressive and tried her level best to cope up with her daily life. ma tells me ‘not a single day passes when i dont remember my mother,i miss my dear mother in everything”…i guess loosing your mother is such a great shock and loss that its just a constant ,lifelong heart burner :”(… cant forget the biggest source of love….and its REALLY STUPID of people to say “ow, you are so strong to cope up with this loss”…cause i feel no one can cope up with this loss….ever…..

    heres a hug to you dear sapphire…i understand (at least 10%) how you feel, since ma feels EXACTLY the same for her amma.

  6. I’m so sorry, sapphire – I thought for some reason that you had a brother. I have sisters and we were able toshare out some of the things that needed doing. That does make it far harder, I know, from friends who have had to be the main supporter of a grieving parent whilst still in deepest darkest grief themself.

    It’s very hard to lose a parent, no matter what age you are.

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