I usually end a year with a lengthy list of new ideas, new goals, new things to try and of course the ongoing list of things I didn’t accomplish that I either toss out the window or add on to the the list for the New Year. I usually have a mixed sense of feeling proud of myself for the ways I improved and trying not to be too hard on myself for all the things I failed to accomplish in the prior 12 months.
This year, things feel so different. Things are so different. Life is different. I am different.
As I look at this picture of myself that was taken just a day before life as I knew it would forever be changed, I wonder who that girl is. I wonder if I’ll ever be her again. Or if I even want to be her again.
I look so happy and care free. I wasn’t problem free in that moment, for sure. It was September 5. We, as a family had had a difficult year. Well, two. No. Actually, if I’m going to be really honest, we’ve seemingly had struggle after struggle since early 2018. We’ve struggled as a family, we’ve each struggled personally at different times throughout those years. We’ve had illness, trauma, accidents, hurt, loss, and stress beyond what I ever thought my little family would have to endure. Our marriage has been tried and tested to the very last tiny, thin, little thread that it could possibly hang on by. I’ve watched those I love most experience deep hurt, trauma and loss. So, no. When this photo was taken I wasn’t free of problems, hurts or heartache. However, what transpired in the 24-48 hours following changed me at my very core.
Losing a child is the single most awful thing I have ever endured. Losing a child to suicide is gut wrenching, awful, horrific, terrible, and every other negative descriptive word that has ever been spoken. I can’t even describe what the last few months have felt like and that’s a whole different rabbit hole to go down and I’m not ready to go there today.
So, as I contemplate a new year, I’m feeling a little lost. Most of the things I usually have on my list feel meaningless to me now.
Don’t get me wrong, there are things I want to do and accomplish, it just feels totally different than it ever has to me before. And as I contemplate this past year, I can’t help but feel gratitude. In the midst of the hurt and pain and shock and trauma of all the losses we’ve experienced, I’ve seen people be so kind, compassionate, caring, selfless and giving. I’ve seen the hand of God in our lives as we’ve been held and comforted when the world has felt dark and hopeless. I’ve watched my kids push through the unthinkable. Move forward, ask for help, feel and find strength beyond their own to continue on when I know they’ve felt completely devastated and defeated. I’m grateful for a spouse who has the ability and desire to keep moving forward through literal hell. I’m grateful for my own willingness to get out of bed and do another day.
So, as I’ve contemplated a New Year, this is what is coming to me. I’m ditching the long list of goals, ideas and things to accomplish. They’re still there, but so many of those things don’t really MATTER. In 2022, I’m going to continue to focus heavily on the things that truly matter to me. I’m going to keep it simple and to the point.
Memories. Making ALL the memories.
Health. Mental, emotional and physical.
Loving and serving those around me. Family. Friends. Those in need or who are hurting or experiencing the unthinkable.
Limiting and removing unnecessary stress.
Healing. Healing in whatever capacity and pace that looks like for me.
Loving these people. Supporting them. Spending time with them.
Making memories with them. Cherishing each moment. Learning with them. Healing with them.
Here’s to a New Year. May you love those you love. May you create memories and experiences that you can forever cherish. 🤍