I like the symbolism of the ritual of New Year's Eve. Not the whole big party vibe which for a 46 year old non drinker like me, is a literal non event. I like to reflect on my year past both the lovely and the not so lovely and focus on the new year going forward.
So many people say their year was the worst one ever and they think in a day things will magically change and the next year will be full of sunshine and roses. While I remain hope junkie and will never be cynical, I know better than to expect a tra lah lah year or one with 12 months of easy peasy bliss and calm. 2017 was a painful year for me. On this day last year Natey drowned. I was away in the mountains with no cellphone reception so had no idea the devastation that had just occurred. I woke up on the 1st of January to a brilliant hot day and snuck off for a trail run before we started the big pack-up after camping. I was so damn happy and grateful that 2016 had been relatively good. The first year after 6 hard ones characterized by loss and hard times. It was a really good light year and even the cancer diagnosis of my father on the 27th of August although devastating, was put in denial as he was so positive and handling the chemo like a boss so I hoped and denied with him somehow thinking he could be that 1% that survived the 5 year mark.
I ran hot and sweaty and then cooled off in my bra and panties in the coke coloured river and lay on my back and gazed at the brilliant blue sky and thanked God for all that beauty and my year of lightness I had experienced. I would journal later and write all my resolutions for the year, my goals, my bucket list. And then as we got down the pass I got cell phone reception and my sister phoned. I heard the wobble in her voice and she told me she had sad news but it wasn't Dad. Natey drowned. Natey?? Not Natey. That is simply not possible because he is the most beautiful adored little boy and we love his story and his family and he is this little celeb in our lives who we follow every day watching him grow up. But it was true and it broke all our hearts and life changed for everyone who knew and loved his parents and him. The ripple of grief spread far and wide.
It has defined my whole year. I have not had a day when my heart doesn't ache for his parents and his brothers. He pops into my head several times a day. The words spoken by his daddy at his service have made me a better person, a better mother. Nothing can make up for a loss like that but by living long days and being more present and kind and aware I feel I honour his memory and legacy. I have had many good happy days in the year. Its a patchwork of different experiences all making up my life. My studies were incredibly demanding and my community work involved hundreds of interviews and observations and 30 long reports. I wrote interesting assignments and despite the pressure, enjoyed my last year of studies. The boys from Bright Lights made me laugh and made me cry. I have not been around there much and when I popped in 2 days ago I felt so guilty when they were so happy to see me and had thought I was gone forever. I gave the staff some money to take them swimming which I know is the easy way out but I don't have the capacity at present.
I am not going to write too much about my dad other than to say he has been really really sick the last 4 months and the waiting is very hard. I am proud to be his daughter, what a fight he has put on. I have also walked alongside my close friend as she lost her mother to cancer exactly 2 months ago. We get it, we get each other and the impossible journey we have both had to travel and travel still. Cancer, Natey, my studies, family, my incredible solo Zanzibar trip, triathlon, friends, camping...all rolled into one year. Some very happy times and others full of heavy sorrow with lots of ho-hum normal every day life in between. And that's life I guess. Hard and easy and beautiful and ugly and happy and sad with everyday chugging along in between. That will be my 2018 and all the years to follow. I will stay grateful for my life and the people in it. I will continue to live long days, to fight good fights and surrender in pointless ones. I will challenge myself and grow and learn and love and lose and win and be. I will stay present, mindful and grateful and figure out what and where I am gong next. Just not right now. Now I take some time out and be.