Thanksgiving is behind us, and Christmas is around the corner. It’ll be 2017 soon. These days I look forward to coming home and plugging in our Christmas tree. There’s something that is so peaceful and soothing about turning off all the lights with only the glow of the Christmas tree, and reading a book or watching TV. I’d take this calmness every night if I could. Makes me want to keep it up all year! (We have a fake tree. I’m allergic to real ones.)
Michael had to work Thanksgiving Day, and he’ll be working again on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We have to get creative with the days we celebrate, so this year Santa is coming on Christmas Eve Eve.
Thinking back over the years, I think Michael and I have spent more holidays apart than we have together. Nature of the job (Army and police officer), huh?
2016 has been a doozy, I tell ya. I’ve spent more time praying, and most recently, reflecting, this year than any other. And if I’m reflecting in true honesty, which isn’t exactly laced with positivity, then I’d just like to go ahead and lay it out by saying…I really wish this damn year would end already.
With that out of the way, despite the craziness, I really am more thankful this year than ever before for all the ways my family has been immensely blessed and saved this year. This doesn’t mean the year was any less stressful, but, I can really look back over it all and see God’s hand in all of it.
My dad’s cancer came back with a vengeance this summer, after being in remission for several years. Three weeks ago his doctor told him that it looks like the chemotherapy is doing its job again, so they can go ahead with the bone marrow transplant next month. This means he’ll be in a hospital in Louisiana for a whole month, but I am grateful that the chemo seems to be doing its job, and we have some more time to spend with him.
My mom had a stay at the hospital, battling pancreatitis, at the beginning of the year. She still isn’t fully recovered, but she’s been able to manage well, carefully planning out the kinds of foods her body won’t reject.
A few weeks ago my Poppy went into the hospital after passing out in the bathroom. Three days in the hospital, and several tests later, he was found to be very healthy and, thankfully, only suffered severe dehydration and was diagnosed with a virus.
A few days after he was released from the hospital my Granny went in for chest pains. They found a heart condition, which now requires her to be on a specific medication every day. She’s doing well now, and we’re all thankful they caught it and it’s treatable!
I’m a writer a heart. I don’t claim to be a good one, but I’m a writer. I formulate lengthy letters, conversations, advice, silly stories, and blog posts in my head throughout the day as I’m driving, or have a few minutes to myself to think. I’ve often written letters in my mind to this man, attempting to bring closure to my thoughts enough to say “I forgive you.” I haven’t quite made it. My husband’s court date is coming up soon. It makes me think of what I would say or write to this man if I was given an opportunity to do so. The number of letters I’ve written to him in my head would at least make a nice stack on someone’s desk. It’s all perfectly drafted, emotions and all. I know he’ll never see it, but it helps to think it out. I keep thinking the more I “write” it the quicker I can just let go.
Maybe next year.
About a month after Michael’s surgery, I had my own surgery. (It couldn’t wait.) I’m still wresting through that. It’s going to have to be another blog post, but it’s when we found out that the likelihood of us having anymore children is very unlikely. It’s been a little devastating, heartbreaking, and hard to swallow. Some days I don’t think about it. Some days I accept it. Some days I want to cry. Some days I don’t understand. Some days I am jealous of others.
Yet, in all of this, despite my hard heart toward this (psychotic) man, despite all the hospital stays with my family, despite a very traumatic event, despite our finality of a family of three, and despite my (unmentioned here) recent diagnoses with food allergies and intolerances (oh, how I miss you milk chocolate, and pizza!), God is good. He is gracious. And I know that even with one hell of a year almost behind me, he is always certain in the path he has set before me. I never doubt he has a plan. I may cry about it, I may not understand it, I may flinch and ask him “why?”, but my faith is in Him.
Yes, I’m eager for this year to be behind me, and anticipating a fresh new start in 2017! But, in tragedy there is good. In chaos, there is laughter. (Thank you to my husband for always showing me this.) In God, there is clarity.
There is so much to be thankful for this year. In every single circumstance my family and I were given the gift of life and health a little while longer. My dad. My mom. My grandparents. Michael.
I want to be someone who, next year or 20 years from now, looks back and admits that 2016 kinda sucked, but I came out stronger because of it.
I want 2016 to know that even though it was hard on me, my dad’s still here, my mom’s okay, my grandpa’s still here, my grandma’s still here, my husband’s still here and he’s a walking epitome of awesomeness, and I already have one truly beautiful son, and that motherly right will never be stripped from me, even if it won’t happen a second time.
I want 2016 to know that my faith is stronger. My mind is stronger. My spirit is stronger.
When I look back at life one day, I’m going to say this is the year I didn’t let life get me down. I forged on.
Every year isn’t going to be easy. There’s bound to be other tough ones in my life.
But, life is crazy that way. I accepted that a long time ago.
I’m learning, though, that it’s only the kind of crazy I allow it.
The kind of crazy where I dust myself off and keep going, despite the whirlwinds.
In the words of John Mayer…
” ‘Cause I have a feeling it all evens out, y’know? At the very end of your life you’re going to sit down at the table, you’re gonna shuffle up the good and the bad and it’s all going to make perfect sense to you when you figure out that in the accounting books it comes up completely even. And then you’re going to ask, “well, what was it all for?” and they’re gonna say, “well, you did it, didn’t you?
And that’s the way this wheel keeps working out.
Happy (Almost) 2017! LET’S DO THIS!
Thanksgiving pic of my family (minus Michael, who was working)
My healthy Granny and Poppy, mom, step dad, and handsome boy!