Stay with me here – I got a lot to let out in a short period. It’s frontloaded with a lot of negative – but I promise there’s a turn around.
To say this past year was difficult would be an understatement.
At this time of the season, many turn back to look at what has passed in the year that ends around them. I have been waiting for this time, but not to look back with nostalgia. No. I want this year dead and buried.
Because as I look into this year past, I cannot help but think of 2014 as cursed from the get go. The bad times technically started in 2013 on the winter solstice with the death of Josette, a brave woman who had finally figured out who she was, what she wanted to be, and had come to terms with everything that meant. She was fell by something entirely out of her control and unknown that she’d carried since shortly after her birth. It was a shadow of what was to come.
2014 was officially heralded by a woman in an elevator who my best friend heard on his way out of the hospital (who had just seen my girlfriend hooked up to a ventilator). She had angrily shouted into her cellphone: “Man, 2014 has been nothing but bullshit.” It was January ninth. The woman was a goddamned prophet.
The new year rang in and (as you could deduce from the prophet’s words above) my girlfriend went into the hospital for half a month. She spent half of that time paralyzed and on life support. I was also very sick in that time with the same ailment (though protected to a limited extent by immunizations), and we’re both still paying off the medical debts that this trial incurred, and we both still carry emotional scars from the experience.
I went through a series of expensive labs to learn that I had sleep apnea – something that anyone probably could have deduced just by listening to me snore. If I want a night of decent sleep I have to wear a noisy mask that often inflames my Rosacea. Oh yeah, still paying for that too.
My grandparents both took staggering blows – my grandmother was diagnosed with late stage Alzheimers in the early spring and my grandfather diagnosed in autumn with Stage 2 esophageal cancer. My grandfather remains in as best a state as he’s able and has moved in with my parents, but my grandmother is now in an elder care facility, lost in her own mind and unable to escape. Seeing them separated pains me greatly, but is nothing compared to what they must feel.
My family, under a great deal of stress from many sides, has its own troubles. We’ve become shorter with one another, less forgiving, less able to trust and relate. We argue and bicker, and I’ve said things myself that I cannot take back that have done lasting harm.
There was the car accident just before Thanksgiving that still troubles me. Lingering pains and discomfort still come and go (as I type my neck twitches and sends small messages of strain across my nerves there), and my girlfriend also still hurts from the accident from many bruises and a battered knee. To add insult to it, the car was almost paid off. I was looking forward to having more money back in my budget after a financially shaky year.
There’s even more stuff that is personal that I can’t even get into here for all sorts of reasons – stuff that has forced me to re-evaluate some of the very cores of my life.
All of the blows that came this year were sudden, but had long lasting ripple effects.
Yet, amongst the flaming wreck of 2014 I can find both solace and salvage. There is much to yet be grateful for and that also will ripple.
My girlfriend and I yet live. Between the plague and the accident, we yet walk among the living, bent, but not broken. We continue to carry on. Be build and grow despite obstacles.
My family has not broken. Though we find ourselves tested and harried, we remain a comfort to one another and gather for one another’s company every Sunday. The rifts that I have formed by my own hand remain, but we are working to mend as best we can.
My best friend got married to another good friend in October, and I stood by him as his best man. I also planned his Bachelor Party and had a fantastic time during it in July. They will carry on into the future as well and create an adventure for years to come.
I had another year to watch my niece and nephew grow – albeit from afar – and to see them turn into tiny people who talk and ask to speak with Uncle Chewbacca (they were briefly fascinated by my beard). I look forward to seeing them sometime soon – hopefully this year.
And, even though I have to wear a mask attached to a machine while I sleep, I sleep better now, and I dream. Hell, last night, I dreamt I found a hidden text by Salvador Dali called ‘The Spirit’ in a hidden cache of what I thought was another book entirely (dream logic – work with me here). With dreams like that, I think I can hang in this writing gig if I ever finally sit down and start doing it.
So I’m ready to put 2014 behind us. While 2015 will no doubt hold the same potential for peril, though it may bring endings and changes, not all of these need be dire. There will be celebration to go with hardship. As there always is.
I hope that all others who have borne the brunt of this (mostly) awful year will join us in walking forward to find more of our life’s bounties, the light of our lives giving comfort and solace and joy to one another.
Walk with us. We should enjoy your company for as many years as time will allow us.