I didn't go to the cemetery this Christmas.
Normally I would visit on Christmas Day or the following week before New Year. Do the rounds visiting relations including my mother and nephew. And Theo too over the last four years. But this Christmas I just didn't feel like it. So I haven't been.
A friend tells me this is another part of "moving on". An expression I don't really care for because I don't know exactly what it means. And my bet is it means different things to different people.
Does it mean "let bygones be bygones"? "Put the past behind you." "That was then, this is now". As I said it probably means different things to different people.
I hadn't really thought about it. But for some maybe they don't want to move on. And is there ever a right time? They may want to keep hold of loving memories. Remember fondly what was before and live at times in the past.
There could be painful personal memories too. If so, that was their reality. Part of their life experience. Telling someone, as I have often heard, "it's time to move on" means you are making that judgment. Not the person themselves.
"Time to get over it" is just as bad in my books. Who's calling time? Do we really know what a person is coping with or feeling?
When I hear people make these comments I wonder "do you even care". Sometimes it's the very people doing the suggesting that need to "get over it".
Until you have walked in another person's shoes you will never know what they have experienced. A friend who has suffered a number of tragedies in her life told me recently that "you never get over it, but you learn to live with it". And learning to live with it, whatever that maybe, can take courage.
Courage to get up in the morning to carry on. Courage to have to plan a future different to the one you had already mapped out. Courage to even contemplate taking one day at a time.
And what about "finding closure". You might get a resolution but closure. When do you arrive at that place with the sign hung out "closure here"? I don't think it happens like that. We all have moments in our lives that can take the wind out of our sails. Set us back stumbling around but those experiences; the good, bad and downright ugly have their place in shaping who we are.
We all react differently in certain situations. And that's as it should be. Can you imagine if we all reacted in the same way in every circumstance? How bland and boring. Some would react well, some would cope better and for some, depending on the situation, wouldn't give a hoot. They may be able to make light of everything, see the up side in every situation and take life as it comes.
I'm not one of those people although I would love to be. Sometimes I worry and stress about things I have no influence or control over. So worrying is futile in those situations. The secret of course is to know and realise what you have control over and what you don't. Not to sweat the small stuff. And to remember it's all small stuff. That's the outlook I want to cultivate more of this year.
-Merepeka lives in Rotorua. She writes, speaks and broadcasts to thwart the spread of political correctness.