2021…the year so many people were anxious to leave behind. It was a hard year, but when I look back I see so many good things…people and events…intertwined with the painful. These are in no particular order.
–Strong relationships with Jason’s health care team–especially his neuro-oncologist Dr. Neil, her nurse Courtney, his hospice nurse Amanda, the hospice chaplain Sheila, Amie my grief counselor through hospice. These women were true blessings to us. I will always, always remember them and be grateful to them for sustaining Jason’s quality of life and his dignity in death. Their compassion is truly a gift.
–Friendships new and old, near and far. I don’t know where I would be without my friends…truly. All the new friends that I have made through my grief counseling group. My constant friends that have been there since middle school, high school, and/or college. My work friends that can take one look at my face and know when I’m having a hard day and just need a freaking hug. Friendships that have been rekindled after a break. Long distance friendships. Friends that teach my kid how to drive. Friends that I can just sit with and talk with about anything…and trust that I have their confidence. Friends that are there for me to go for walks, out for coffee, or drinks. Friends that help with logistics…like Levi needing rides. Friends that text me and say “you have got to listen to this song”. Thank you for “getting me”.
–Family…my kids…my extended family…my in-laws. Thank you for loving me…having patience with me…crying with me…laughing with me…remembering with me. Answering questions for me like “how do you change the furnace filter?” Answering the phone when I’m crying so hard I can’t get words out. Being a presence in the lives of my kids.
–Seth and Levi both playing Varsity on the Eastview tennis team and Jason and I being able to watch so many matches…including Seth going to State.
–Seth graduating from high school, getting his driver’s license, and getting his first job.
–Anna rocking the college life….being involved in band…having great friends…lining up Internships.
–Levi starting high school and working really hard at his tennis game. Jason would love his dedication.
–Family vacation at Ruttgers. Our favorite vacation place that we had gone to for years. It was truly a blessing to be able to go there as a family one last time. Those few days are filled with good memories the kids and I will treasure forever…fishing, pontoon rides, pickleball, tennis
–Jeremy and Cheryl’s wedding. Jason was so proud to stand beside his brother that day. I’m so happy that he had that opportunity…and the chance to see his family and friends. I’ll always cherish the memory of our last dance.
–The opportunity for the kids and I to go to Cincinnati for the Western and Southern Open. This was supposed to be Jason’s bucket list trip. Good friends spearheaded a fundraiser to raise money for the trip so we could go. Sadly, he didn’t make it, but the kids and I and my sister went in his honor. Even though we were devastated that he wasn’t there, it was a good chance for us to bond together. I also was overjoyed to be able to see our friend Sarah while we were there.
–Solo trip to Alexandria in September. Two of my friends gifted me with a weekend up at the cabin that Jason and I celebrated our anniversary at in 2020. Having that time by myself without responsibilities to anyone else was exactly what I needed in that moment.
–Empty Chair Service. Beautiful. Powerful. Healing. I realized some things about God and my Faith that evening.
And I’m sure there are other things that I am forgetting. Yes, 2021 was painful, but it was also filled with great memories. Looking forward to 2022…to me that’s harder…