What a strange day! 31 of December. A day that does not really have any significance for me anymore, and yet, I keep going back in my years to that day in the snowy, cold, and crisp native city of mine, where my sister, z’l and I would be waiting for the night that promised to be magical. In my family, we always had the tree, not the Xmas tree, of course, and not just any tree, but THE TREE, taken from the real forest and standing straight full and diffusing its natural pine oil that I am not even trying to replicate now with the abundance of great essential oils I’ve learned to use and have now at my disposal. That was, indeed, the tree. It stood for, maybe, two months in our room protecting us from bad dreams with its fan-like branches full of long and soft needles. We didn’t have many decorations, the tree itself was majestic, not needing much artificial stuff. And it was always placed in our room, no idea why. I asked my mother, and she couldn’t think of a reason, maybe just because we loved it, and asked for it.
Naturally, the magic of this holiday went away. First, when I learned of its true and horrible significance to my people, and then just because I grew up, and now with every year this day becomes sadder for me as I keep losing people every year – my loved ones, my friends, my acquaintances, and just people I knew of like artists I once loved, actors, celebrities. Some of these losses touch me deeply, some just for a moment. “Life goes only one way”, says my 88-year old mother, and the question that we all face is ‘not when, but how?’
Despite happiness in my life today, for which I thank Gd Almighty daily, today I want to listen to the music that I used to love, songs that even being happy retain the melancholy of our lives there. Just listen to this one:
It’s gorgeous, but if you don’t know the words, the song can drive you (or is it me only?) to tears. Why? I can’t answer this question. Maybe it’s just the ticking of days? Maybe it’s because this year has been such a strain on our collective nerves and I haven’t seen my ‘baby’ daughter for almost a year!
So, today, I am thinking about my sister and our ‘детская’ (the children’s room) that we were lucky to have unlike many of my contemporaries. Today, I am thinking about my father, z’l, the father of my children, z’l, my family members in the land of the unknown fighting the urge to sit with multiple photo albums that I was lucky to bring with me or watch the quintessential new year’s night movie “С легким паром”. Tonight, I will not have a huge bowl of Olivier as many of my former countrymates here in the blessed land of the USA still make. Tonight, I will not wait for the ‘бой курантов‘ or the drop of the ball on Times Square. I will go to sleep, most likely after watching some stupid romantic comedy, and eating too much ice-cream wrapped in the loving hands of the man I love feeling lucky that I can be my silly-little-girl-crying-for-nothing self just for tonight.
Tomorrow is another day. Another year. May we see our loved ones as often as we want in 2021. May we cherish every day with them. May we forgive and get forgiveness. Life is too short for anything else.