Teri Vance: New Year’s resolutions of hope and love
It’s a new year. And we like to imagine everything is new and bright. All the old things are now shiny.
And it’s good to greet the new year with new ideas and dreams and goals to make it better.
But the new year is really just a new day, and the old year was last week — and yesterday’s problems don’t magically waft out of existence with the flip of a calendar page.
I talked to a good friend of mine this week, Bill Husa, whose home burned along with most everything else in Paradise, Calif., during the Camp fire. (You may remember him as a photographer at the Nevada Appeal and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza).
My heart broke when I heard the news of his home, thinking of all the photographs and journals — not to mention all of his other possessions — that went up in flames.
But it was devastating to hear the words actually come from him that he lost his life’s work, and he wasn’t sure now what the point of all of it was.
All of this came on the heels of losing his father. It still sometimes feels like a dream, he said.
It’s an overwhelming amount of loss. And I didn’t have words to soften it.
It took me back to the day I had to put down my 15-year-old dog, Roxy.
I took her for one last adventure to her favorite spot in Riverview Park, and it was just so sad. Unexpectedly, my sister and her children showed up to say their final goodbyes.
At first, my 10-year-old nephew tried to hide away. He didn’t want to show his crying, and he probably felt uncomfortable in that place of sorrow.
My sister explained to him and the others sometimes we can’t ease each other’s grief. Sometimes, all we can do is sit with them. And cry together. Somehow, it’s healing.
So that’s what I did with Bill. I just listened. I mourned his loss with him. Lamented this life is messy and can’t always be explained.
I reminded him his brilliance isn’t in his work — the lifetime of work that’s now gone — it’s in him. And he’s still here.
We hadn’t spoken in years, but we laughed like old times and we remembered life really is sweet when you can see past the pain.
He sent me photos of the trailer he’s living in while he waits for his life to start again. I saw in the photo a whiteboard where his girlfriend had written a to-do list.
There were only two items on the list.
No. 1: Be hopeful. No. 2: Remember I love you.
I figured those were about as good as any resolutions any of us can make.
Be hopeful. Remember we’re loved and to love each other.
We may not always be able to leave last year’s suffering in last year, but we can help each other shoulder those burdens.
Maybe that’s how we rebuild from the ashes.
Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.