LESLIE CRISS: Ushering out 2011 is a task of sheer delight

By Leslie Criss | NEMS Daily Journal

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
– Hal Borland

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”
– Oprah Winfrey

“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives … not looking for flaws, but for potential.
– Ellen Goodman
Happy, happy new year. I don’t think I have ever been so relieved to see one particular year end and another begin. But, 2011, you I will not miss.
Oh, the year was certainly not a total train wreck – I believe there’s some good to be found in most everything.
But many cars did fly off the track during the year, so to speak.
Two sets of first cousins lost their fathers last summer – my dad lost two of his three brothers, and my sister and I lost two uncles.
My mom was ill most of 2011. My family and I were in and out of medical facilities with her. We learned more than we ever wanted to know about the debacle that is our country’s health care system. Anyone who thinks everything is fine is either wealthy or stupid, but I haven’t the energy or the heart to go there just now.
Mom died in early November and the hearts of those who loved her were irreparably broken. The good news is, in the last few months of her life, we all made some wonderful memories to keep.
Knee surgery in October brought some relief for a time, and then I realized those folks who always said their knees, elbows and other body parts hurt when it rained or turned cold were not telling untruths.
A longtime lover of winter and snow, I now long for spring, summer and maybe even a slight drought.
Even as my own family faced the sadness that comes with losing a loved one, dear friends suffered losses of their own.
It was a tough year all over, it seems.
Looking back, there was a tsunami in Japan, havoc wrought by Hurricane Irene, an earthquake in Turkey, a massacre at a school near Rio de Janeiro and closer to home in the state of my mom’s birth – in Tucson, Ariz.
Even with major loss of lives in all those tragedies, there were glimpses of grace all around. There always are.
That’s what gets us through the tough times, the rough years like 2011.
Today I look forward with a hopeful, though hurting heart, to a new year that offers us all a clean slate, if you will. A fresh start. A pail packed with possibilities.
So long, 2011.
Thanks for the good memories. You can keep the not-so-good ones.
Welcome, 2012. Bring it on.
And happy, happy new year.
leslie.criss@journalinc.com