(Bloggers note: this has not been edited yet.  Read at your own risk.)

How do I even begin to do a year in review?  You read my blog.  Now as I look at the time and realize that 2015 is within reach I wonder if a day passing will really make a difference?  I remember I used to think that.

I used to think a lot of things.

I’ve given myself 30 minutes to write this post.  Because I don’t want to dwell, it’s easy for me to go back to the sad dark places, and I don’t have time for that.  I have to work, I need to shower, I’ve got kids at home.

We used to give ourselves themes for the year. For some reason last year was the first year we didn’t.  Maybe we should have.  I think if I could pick a theme it would probably be Suffering.  Because this year I learned a lot about suffering.

Not just me.

I watched People I love suffer.  I saw someone I love, we all love, Suffer and Leave this world.  I watched all of us, left behind, especially those I love suffer as we grieved, and continue to grieve.  Too many had to say goodbye too soon this year.

I saw friends go through marriage issues. And love people who had addictions.  Friends pray and plead for children. So much suffering.  Friends lost parents, best friends, spouses, and there was nothing I could say that could bring comfort.  I watched my Dads heart stop beating, and saw my sisters face as the nurses pushed us out, as they brought him back to life.  Surreal Suffering.

Suddenly, People I didn’t even care for in the past were cast in a different light, because I could see their suffering.  I don’t know if it was the darkness or an awareness that everyone was going through something bigger, harder- harsher.  I would look at the people holding signs on the corner and I would see the lines of years of loss-addiction-and resign on their faces.


I remember my friend April and I said after a long hard 2013 that this year was going to be our year. She has suffered greatly this year.  Just like me.  We have cried together more times than I can count.  Both with completely different lives, and both carrying the weight of a year we didn’t want.

I feel older this year.  Not because I’m achy and losing my hearing, which I am — but because I went to places in my mind and in my heart that I never imagined possible.  The spectrum swung so far in dark and light that I feel like 10 years passed.

We were sick almost every holiday.  Halloween was the ONLY holiday that we weren’t sick.  Most family events were because someone had died or was having surgery.  When it wasn’t, the darkness was so suffocating I couldn’t get ahead of my panic. Me, someone who loves to travel, became terrified of it.

We planned a huge vacation for my birthday and had to cancel it because of a neighborhood issue…an issue far beyond anything we’d ever have thought could have happened. And my heart was broken. And My car broke down. Twice.

Some of my relationships changed. The relationships I never imagined would change.  It was so painful when you realize someone matters more to you, than you do to them.  It was a life lesson I would never wish on anyone.

The media and “friends” made social media and my one kind of vacation a painful experience with the anti police-don’t shoot-they need more training-lets march…blah blah blah.  Not knowing ANYTHING about the dangers my family has faced this year. I stopped looking, signing in, because they had no idea, and would never understand, or even try to.

And the whole, dark night of the soul- darkness. Where no matter what people said, he didn’t show up, the loneliest darkest months of my life.

Yep.  It was a hard year.

And Yet…

The Good did happen. My  husband is a rock star at his job.  He works with rock stars. Even with the critics. Even with the dangers.  And I am so proud of him. Everyday.

My kids grew and changed. As painful as that is, to see them change– to watch even the shape of their faces transform and bodies become lanky, it is beautiful to see the people they are becoming.  We are raising good human beings.  Not perfect. But beautiful individuals.  Who I enjoy being around. And getting to know.

In the past year, the most real true friends, some I’d already had, and some I met, came into my life.  They are the kind of friends you wait your entire life for.  The kind of people that I would admire from afar, and when I got to know them they were a million times more beautiful to know.  Beautiful people, who didn’t care if I was always funny.  Who didn’t need me to be “on” all the time.  Who took me this year with the shadows under my eyes, and still looked at me, and invited me into their lives.

I live in a home that I love and feel safe in.

I held babies. I held my goddaughter.

I learned for the first time in my life to say no.  And that I’m worth being considered.  And while I’m still working on believing and advocating my worthiness, I acknowledge it’s there.

And the dark night, turned into a bright luminous morning. A morning where even though the suffering didn’t cease, I saw hope because I heard God.  I saw his Grace.  Until you’ve walked in the darkness, you can’t even begin to imagine how bright the light is.  And it changes things.

It takes the dark edges and shines light on the things that went right.  Asking for helping. Seeking it.  And learning to live again.  And being grateful for the chance to live.

I’m hoping that’s the theme this year.

Gratefulness.  Because I am grateful to begin again.  I’m grateful for memories, and the chance to make more.

I’m thankful for the chance to see through the fog and above it now.  And see on days like yesterday, when it descends on me, murky and dark, as I waffle between praying and crying but can rise above it.  And while watching it evaporate still takes time but I can move through it.  I am not immobilized by it any longer.  Glory to God.

So here’s to a New Year! Here’s to being grateful!

Here’s to a big Suck it 2014!   I lived. I learned.