Good bye, 2013. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out! It’s no surprise to friends, family and readers of this blog that the last year of my life has been hell. I lost so much and learned the hard way what is valuable and precious to me. It reminds me of another year and a tradition that was formed as the ball dropped and a new beginning came to a little boy. In 1995 I was 10 years old. That year my father, a veteran police officer, was injured multiple times on the job and we dealt with a lot of non-cop related traumas as well. The worst, though, was the line of duty shooting he was involved in. In a moment, his life and the lives of his wife and children were changed forever. For a little boy, it was the moment when he realized his dad wasn’t Superman. I was forced to acknowledge that bullets wouldn’t bounce off his chest and that it was a very real possibility that he might come home some day. To be honest, 18 years later it’s an epiphany that still haunts me and steals sleep from me whenever he has to go on patrol. That New Year’s Eve I was reclusive, I hid in the cold and the dark on my grandparents’ front porch, huddled on the steps my dad came outside and made me sit on his lap.
“Is this going to be a better year,” I asked, crying.
He smiled and he shook his head and he kissed me on my forehead. I laid my head on his chest and he told me, “It’s going to be a better year. All the worst is behind us.”
I’m not a hugely faithful or religious man but every year since 1996 I have stepped outside, taken a deep breath in the cold, January air and say a little prayer. I ask whatever god might hear me to bless the coming year, to help me find peace and to put the upset and heartache of the last year behind me. The last couple of years, I feel as if that prayer has been ignored.Regardless, I go outside, look up at the stars and ask for a better year to come.
I hope you have a great year ahead. Happy New Year. May it be a damned sight better than the last.