December 31, 2009

A year without you

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:04 pm by letterstoelias


You won’t have lived in 2010. Even though you died over 8 months ago, I could say that you were alive ‘this’ year. I could even say that you died ‘this’ year. As of midnight tonight, I can’t say that any more. A new year is starting, without you.

My husband died ‘last‘ year. You’re getting farther and farther away from me.

Not only that, but this is the first year in the last 14 that we won’t have been together for new years eve. December 31st, 1995 . . . the night we met.

Well, I guess we didn’t officially ‘meet’ until January 1st, 1996, but I remember seeing you earlier in the night. I was at the house of a friend from high school. You had arrived with a group of some of my other friends from high school, who had just happened to stop in and wish us a happy new year.

There, in a doorway, with your hat pulled low, your head down, nervously biting your thumbnail, I saw you. For the first time.

I remember being immediately intrigued – it was dark, crowded, and I couldn’t see you well, but there was something about you. I can still see that image so fresh in my mind. It doesn’t seem like 14yrs ago.

It was a while later in the night that we were finally introduced. I walked into the gym and could see you there, smiling, laughing, playing basketball. I was told your name (though I misheard and thought it was Eli initially), and we played ‘horse’ while you flirtatiously kept knocking the ball out of my hands (sending me running all over the gym). I remember sitting on the kitchen counter with you past 2am, talking away. Getting to know each other. As if there was no one else in the room.

There was an instant attraction. Butterflies. Of course I was at the very tail end of a relationship so that’s where it ended – we didn’t even start dating until over 6 months later (though there was a fair amount of flirtation in that time) – but, perhaps because we met that night, I’ve often thought of New Years as what ‘started’ it for us. It felt like we knew from that night there was something between us. That we should be together. I found the love of my life at 18.

And for the next 13yrs we were. And no matter what was happening on New Years Eve since that one, so many years ago, we made sure to be together at the stroke of midnight. So many years you were working at a restaurant somewhere, but I always managed to get to you before the strike of 12 (though once or twice it was close . . . ) to share a kiss to bring in the new year. Recent years were very low key – just putting the girls to bed as usual, watching ‘Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years Eve’, and flipping around on the tv watching the other celebrations. Drinking our sparkling apple/grape juice (since you couldn’t drink because of your meds). And always that kiss at midnight.

A far cry from this new years eve. The girls are now asleep, as usual. But I am here, without you. In a dark, cold, quiet room with nothing but the hum of my computer and the light from its screen. I don’t want to watch the festivities on tv this year. I don’t want to see the celebrations.

I don’t want the new year to come. I don’t want to start a new year without you. And I hate that I now know that these things I dread come nonetheless. I am powerless to stop them. Tomorrow will come. 2010 will start no matter how much I curse, cry, will it away. I’ll be dragged, kicking and screaming my way into the new year. But hey – another fucking milestone crossed, right? Hoo-ray. It hurts more than I can begin to say.

As much as I would rather take the mindset that I could instead celebrate this night as the anniversary that we met and how it started (and this does make me happy), sitting here alone without you is just too hard.

I’ll write soon about Christmas, and other news – but for now I’m going to sleep. As soon as possible. No staying awake late for me tonight. Even if I weren’t so exhausted, with a headache and feeling nauseous, I would still avoid being awake at midnight.

But, before I go to sleep, I will raise my figurative glass to you (and to my friend Deb who is missing her love Austin on what would have been their 14th wedding anniversary) in thanks for coming into my life that night. As much as this hurts, I am ever thankful that you did. I told you before you died that had I known then what our outcome would be, I would never have changed a thing – and that still holds true. And I love you even more now than ever – which I wouldn’t have imagined possible.

Only 3 hrs left in the last year you lived . . . . god how I hate this.


P.S. I Love you



  1. Dianne said,

    Oh Chelsea…I just want to reach through this computer screen and give you a big ‘ole “doula hug” and I know you know what that means. Maybe this spring it will be necessary for me to take a nice drive north…we can meet in Vancouver so I can give you a real hug!

    I pray many blessings as you begin this new year!

    Hugs ~ Dianne

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks Dianne – and I do know exactly what you mean! =)

      Take care, and it would be great to meet up in person some time!

  2. Debbie said,


    We just got home tonight and I wanted to check in with you before I go to sleep. I was thinking of you on New Year’s Eve and had a glass of wine for both of us. But I also avoided midnight because the thought of ringing it in without him was too overwhelming. As I read your post with tears rolling down my cheeks, I completely related to the overwhelming sadness of being in this new year without our loves. I think it is something that so many of us are feeling and it’s comforting to know, once again, that there are others of us out here who get it.

    Sure hope that February works out for us. I could use a girls-night-out with people who get it! Once we get unpacked and back to reality, I’ll give you a call to catch up on how we made it through the holidays.


    • letterstoelias said,

      Definitely looking forward to catching up with you and hearing how it all went for you and the boys. As I recently wrote, by some unfortunate circumstances I ended up awake at midnight – which was extremely hard. I haven’t even bothered to change the calendar yet as I’m having a difficult time accepting the year has changed, but I guess I’ll have to start soon . . . . .

      I really hope we can work something out – it’s definitely in my mind to make it happen somehow. Talk to you soon, and all my best to you and the boys.

  3. Roads said,

    ‘My wife died last year.’

    I can remember saying those words. I hated saying them, too. I didn’t want that distance and space between us (careful here, don’t want to sound like Celine Dion) to open up any wider. Yet perhaps they did help, eventually, somehow and in their way.

  4. Roads said,

    But hey – another fucking milestone crossed, right?

    That’s powerful. Well put.

    • letterstoelias said,

      I’m not usually one to swear much as it’s not my style (and I don’t want to upset my Grandma!), but it was certainly how I was feeling at that moment.

      And, I guess it did get my point across . . .


  5. […]  When I touched on their blogs, I read so much of what I wrote last year at this time.  I re-read my post from last New Years.  As I mentioned last time, that was one of my toughest […]

  6. Dear Chelsea,

    tonight is dec.14, 2015. I started to read your blog 2 nights ago. My husband died suddenly 2 1/2 yrs. ago, and I thought this holiday season would be better that the last 2. But I was SO WRONG. Since he died (while he was in a robust remission, and I was, too, after being d’x with St IV metastatic breast 18 mos after he was d’x with a rare blood cancer of the bone marrow) since that morning I found him lifeless in our bed, I have done the work of grief and see a therapist each week. Reading the words of your memories of your dear husband, the wonderful father of your girls, and all the “nevers” that will not ever happen again really touched a place in my soul, so much so that I have been crying as a write. I am so very sorry for the death of the love of your life, for the loss of your little girls’ Daddy. So much goes through my head, our thoughts are so similar – like C’mas cards only addressed to you. And for me, so many, many memories of C’mases past have been popping up, and I hate that they make me smile, but at the same time make me sob with the missing of my Beloved. I just wanted to let you know that I am so grateful for you expressing the pain, the aching, the longing in such a candid manner. You are a gifted writer – and my gift from you tonight were the tears I was finally able to shed after many, many days when I felt them bottling up but could not cry. Much Love to you, your girls and family, Karen

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hi Karen… Thank you SO much for your kind words, and I’m so very sorry for the loss of your husband. I think so often about this space and how I’d like to write at least one more post, but it would be so hard to figure out how, and it’s also been so long. I never knew if people still read! But your words definitely touched my heart as well. As I’m sure you understand our loved ones are missed every day. Much love to you over this particularly difficult season.. ❤

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