After The Bells, and we had sung Auld Lang Syne, my mother used to raise a glass, "To absent friends." We ring out the old and we ring in the new and somehow it feels especially poignant if someone close to us is not present to accompany us over the threshhold into the new year.
When we know where our loved ones are, even when not present in body, we can feel a spiritual and emotional connection if the reason for their distance from us in known and understood. When we have no way of reconciling their absence, it feels like there is an empty place in the heart where that person should be. There is a part of us that will be left in the old year with memories of the missing loved one, unwilling to move on without them.
At this time of the turning of the year, let's think of the families who are missing a much-loved one of their members.
So many people who are missing and missed. So many absent friends.
So, here's to absent friends.