What do you do when you have the best and the worst year of your life in one year?
You reflect. Then you find yourself lost in a rabbit hole of emotions that fill you with joy and sadness at once. And that emotional rollercoaster is one you’d be glad to get the fork off if you could just figure out how.
Every year, I spend this week reflecting. And usually, I count my silver linings for all of the bad things that happen. And then I add in all of the good things that happen. And then settle on the things I want to improve on for the following year. It’s rewarding and comforting. It reminds me of what I have to be grateful for and reminds me that I have so much potential in the new year.
But 2016 is not my normal year.
This year was the year that really defined me. Whether I wanted it to or not, my 29th year was the one that said “This is who you are. This is who you were meant to be. There’s no escaping it now.”
When our dog Meg passed away from cancer in May, I realized how much I could hurt. How deep my emotions ran and how attached to something I could be. How much cancer changed my outlook on life, my beliefs, my very core. It broke me.
When Lily was born in July, I realized she filled a hole in my life. A rainbow baby sized hole that was just waiting for her to arrive and fill it up. I realized I was made to be a mother. Her mother. It’s where I fit in and where I thrive. It’s what I do best, every single day. I do the right thing without even thinking of what’s right or wrong. It was like I was born to do this.
When our cat Cosmo passed away from a heart condition in August, I was exhausted. Meg’s wounds were still fresh, I was still healing emotionally and physically from giving birth, and I was not ready for yet another thing. And if we’re being honest here, I’m still not. I have yet to get him the urn he deserves. I have yet to properly find a spot for his belongings. I’ve cried, and mourned, but I’ve yet to start the healing process. And I have no idea when it will begin.
So I sit here, listening to Hallelujah by Pentatonix play for our peanut since she’s being a little fussy, feeling beaten down yet fully alive. And I feel like I’ve survived 2016 with split personalities.
They don’t compliment each other.
They don’t make me whole.
They’ve split me apart.
They’ve ravaged my ability to find a place of contentment.
And they’ve created a crater in my heart that needs some serious healing in 2017. My reflections this week are not ones that leave me feeling hope-filled for the new year. They leave me craving resolution. Understanding. But most importantly, acceptance.
Acceptance that I have found my place in life, but it doesn’t include two of my best friends.
Acceptance that life isn’t fair sometimes and that bad things happen to good people/animals, but it still yields plenty to be thankful for.
Acceptance that I will never be the same person I was when I started 2016, but that’s okay.
Acceptance that these wounds will likely never fully heal, but I can still move forward and find the beauty in life.
Nathan and I have talked about this year up and down, left and right, around the corner and back again. Nothing changes, but we’ve finally settled on the word that defined our year. It’s truly bittersweet. And I can only hope that next year, when this week rolls around again, the word I settle on for the year behind me is something much more positive.