Monday, December 29, 2014

2014 in Review

  You cold, dirty, back-stabbing traitor.  I signed up for a life of a married woman with a loyal husband, with 2.3 children, a golden retriever, a career, a good retirement plan, an iPhone 6 with longer battery life, and a tiny piece of land I own to build a modest hut and call it home. The American dream.  Is that so much to ask? I didn’t just “sign up” for the taking of this life. I played the game and earned it. I attended school for something like 19 years by the time I was 24 years old, have worked since I was 15 years old, took my sweet time to pick the right man (loyal, handsome, funny, a provider, someone who life has kicked in the teeth a few times, and no ex-wives) to have kids with, waited until I was educated, employed, and insured.  Then I bought a house, got married and had babies (in some such order).  I thought I was doing it all right. I never anticipated being a “single mom”. I never thought I would be widowed at 32.  I thought I was in control.  Then, 2014, you came along. A sudden catastrophic event and nothing looked the same. Oh, how little control I actually had. Like a dark night falling in the desert, far from familiar city lights, my life turned black. The color drained out of the familiar, comforting surroundings.  I could no longer recognize things right in front of my face. I felt like I was suddenly a different person. Because I was. I will never be the Claire I used to be, ever again. My story had changed. I was living a whole new life, feeling my way around the pitch black desert. Joke’s on me. Touché, universe, touché. It mattered not that I planned or worked hard.

  So, I prayed for daylight. With weary eyes, I see amazing beams of light and hope shine through the blackness. Daylight is coming. Tip-toeing ever so cautiously out of survival mode, my eyes started to adjust to my new surroundings, and I could see.  I had the most amazing support stand behind my girls and me while I found my way around my new life. I met selfless people who gave me what I needed. I am forever indebted to a circle of virtual strangers, old friends, and new companions who supported me with kind words, prayers, food, company, love, childcare, and let’s face it, some money to get us by for a while. Harper is just *now* on her last box of diapers that were gifted to her, 10 months later. What amazing love that I got to experience first hand! I could never have gotten through the first season of my new life without YOU. I believe God has put a few good people in my life for a reason.

Side Effects
  I am not bullet-proof. There have been consequences and repercussions to the events of this fine year. Of late, I have been experiencing something I didn’t believe really existed in this capacity. Anxiety. I have had some serious tolls to pay in the anxiety department. If you haven’t experienced it, I cannot ever make you understand. And if you have, then you know. My senses became heightened when Jason died. I know it sounds superhero-ish, but that isn’t always a good thing. I now fear something bad will happen to myself and leave my children without a parent. I am hyper aware of the fragility of life, and I am under no notions of myself or my family being the exception. My theory is that most people think “yeah but that won’t actually happen to ME (if you are reading this and don’t have life insurance or a will, you are one of them)” as a normal human life-coping or defense mechanism. It’s mostly a good thing to have, so you won’t know what hit ya. I don’t have that anymore. Mortality is a very real concept to me now. And I have worked myself up enough to end up in the doctor’s office a few times to make sure I am not dying, a cardiologist to make sure the ticker is good, and even the ER because I didn’t believe when the first 2 doctors said the ticker is good… all the way to a therapist’s chair.  I didn’t survive totally unscathed, but I have faith I will work through this part, too. It’s all part of my journey, even the ugly stuff like this. I have to work on BEING STILL AND KNOWING…

  I mourn what was taken from me and my children this year, but I will never forget what was given to me this year. Perspective. Strength. Will to survive. Fellowship. Support. Love. Gratitude. Humility. A massive character-building exercise, if you will. I am not alone in a dark desert. Not today. God and I are working things out, but I know He is with me and He is patient. I am strong. I will not quit. I won’t give in to darkness. I am placing my bets on ME. Let me make it crystal clear that it takes PRACTICE to get in the right mindset. The mindset of a grateful heart, appreciation, and an open mind. The mindset of belief and hope. Without that, you ain’t got much. 

  2014, you are definitely a “winter” year of my life. Almost a whole year of holidays and birthdays without daddy. But I know there will be a spring. The cold ground will thaw. Birds will sing again. The sun will warm my face again. There is still a promise of a spring with new leaves, new green, and new birth (just not of the human variety!). That’s the beauty of a New Year. 
Now, don’t EVER show your face here again.

2014, I bid you good morrow,