Earlier this year, even before June, my mother commented on what a bad year it had been already. I honestly didn’t know what she was talking about and even now the only things I can remember from that time were that my brother-in-law died and I’d been plagued with MS symptoms. Not that those things aren’t harsh realities, I just felt like it was too soon to qualify it as a bad year.
So now here I am another seven or eight months later reviewing events since then. Most people would now affirm that we’ve had a crappy year. My mother-in-law went into hospice in April, I had steroid treatments for MS symptoms in May, my husband was in a freak car accident the beginning of August, my mother gave up driving in October, my MIL passed away in November, and I had to pull my head out of the sand of denial and start yet another MS treatment. However, I still wouldn’t say it was a bad year.
Sure, it was really tough at times. The paperwork for every event was overwhelming. There were times I wanted to curl up into a fetal position and never stop crying, or keep driving into the sunset when I was on my way to the grocery store. But when I look back on the year as a whole, it was fraught with life changing epiphanies, growth and introspection. I was often reminded of the superhero movies my daughters love. They face their evil nemesis head on and don’t shrink back no matter how formidable they prove to be.
There are some things I definitely could have lived without, but for the most part, we’ve all come out the other side, intact where we need to be, even if that means heaven. I’m grateful for the things I’ve learned, especially that I am capable, I am worthy, and I am loved. I’m grateful for my husband who in spite of my meltdowns, continues to love me. I’m grateful that he practically walked away from the car accident that was nearly fatal (superhero, indeed). Not only was he supportive of my health issues, but he let himself be vulnerable during his mother’s illness and death. We have clung to each other more than ever this year and become closer in the long run.
I’m grateful for my Weight Watcher’s group who were open to anything I needed to share, and embraced me through unexpected tears. I’m grateful for the few true friends I have who love me no matter what I say (because really, talking is what gets me in trouble). I’m grateful to my mother who now that she’s given up driving has been resourceful in finding rides so as not to wear me out, and for my sister who is always there to listen. I’m mostly grateful to my kids and husband for always having my back. And thanks for the continued pennies, Dad, he seems to send them from the spirit world just when I need them most. I also finally found a good writing group this year that have helped me put a new spark in my writing.
So it wasn’t a bad year, it was just very different and maybe one of the hardest I’ve ever lived through. There’s nothing wrong with facing down the forces of evil and asking them to sit down to dinner to work things out. I won’t be sorry to see this year end, though I’ll carry its messages with me forever. May you find the strength to fight whatever battles crashed unwelcome into your life and the power to subdue your evil foes.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. You can read more of her writing and her blog on her website livingwithgleigh.com, follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh”or on Twitter @livewithgleigh. Her column is also available at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.