Not-so-happy New Year

Dear Marty,

This is the hardest night of the year for me, although Christmas Eve comes close. The eve of a New Year is harder than your birthday or your deathday, as hard as those are.

You always called me on New Year’s Eve. Wherever you were – even when you were in the Navy – I knew I’d get a phone call when the new year arrived in your time zone, and again when it arrived in my time zone. It was a long-standing tradition, dating back to 1989-90, and was one thing I could absolutely count on with you.

Your last New Year’s Eve in this life was three years ago. I had moved that horribly uncomfortable recliner into your room so I could be near you. I held your hand as the ball fell in Times Square, heralding the arrival of 2021 and ending the single most awful year of my life. You weren’t consciously aware that a new year had arrived, but I wished you a happy new year anyway. And I stayed by your side that night, wishing you happy new year again when clocks changed in Oregon. I knew it was the last time for you and it was important to me that we were together, that I could spend those precious minutes with you, holding your hand, assuring you of my love, knowing that if our roles had been reversed you would have been there for me.

And so, my beloved son, an old year ends and a new year begins. Three years since you moved into your new life, three years since I held your hand, heard your voice, could reach out and touch you. The grief doesn’t lessen with time. I will always miss you and there will always be a Marty-sized hole in my world.

I love you, my boy. Always know that.