The year that launched a thousand memes, 2016, was pretty shitty for a lot of people. And thankfully, that sumbitch is over.
This year was a time of sorrow and loss for so many people. All the celebrity deaths aside (and holy hell, were there a LOT of them!), I know so many people who lost loved ones this year. My husband’s uncle passed in February, I have two friends who lost parents, another who lost her sister, some who lost unborn children to miscarriage, one who lost her cousin/best friend (who also happened to be my high school classmate)…the list goes on and on. And those aren’t the only losses–I have friends who lost jobs, promotions, etc.
On top of all that, there’s been plenty of chaos and strife, from terror attacks, to the instability of Brexit, to the Syrian crisis, to the utter shit show that was the 2016 U.S. election.
Obviously, this was a tough year for me personally, as well. Being diagnosed with cancer, learning I have a genetic mutation that makes me predisposed to cancer, going through chemotherapy and then a bilateral mastectomy was one of the hardest things I’ve dealt with in my life. I have never felt such physical and emotional pain. I have faced the terror and sadness of my own mortality.
My family has suffered, too. My poor husband has stood by me through this whole ordeal, a steadfast rock who held my hand as I cried during my first doctor’s appointment, shaved my head when clumps of hair fell out during chemo and changed my disgusting drains after surgery. And he has done all of this without complaint. I know it’s been hard on him, and I am thankful every single day that I married such an incredible person.
And with him, I’m thankful I married into such an incredible family. His family has been there for us in so many ways, from taking care of my son when I was recovering from chemo or surgery to filling my mailbox/inbox with cards and messages of love and encouragement to just being there to provide a hug or smile when I needed it.
My own family has been amazing, too. My sisters have been a constant source of support, and my dad has been so sweet and concerned–seeing his child face this has been hard for him. And my vast extended family has wrapped me in love and support, too.
My amazing family hasn’t been the only group cheering me on through this crapfest of a year. My friends–best friends I’ve known since childhood, newer friends who’ve become an important part of my life, a group of fellow moms who’ve become a huge part of my support system, former coworkers and even folks I haven’t seen or talked to in years–have shown me so much concern and love.
And my current coworkers–two of whom were literally by my side the day I got the bad news about my diagnosis–have been so wonderful. My absences due to chemo and surgery have been hard on them, but they’ve handled it like champs and never made me feel like I was letting them down. And the company I work for has blown me away over and over again with their capacity for kindness and generosity. I thank my lucky stars every day to be part of such a fantastic organization.
This year has been SO incredibly hard. It has tested and challenged me in ways I’ve never experienced. It has broken my heart on so many occasions. But it also has taught me how much love, kindness and good there is in the world. I am so grateful for every single gesture I’ve received this year, from loved ones and strangers alike. They have made this journey a little more tolerable and they have taught me that even when things are dark, there is still light in the world.
It’s that spirit that I’m taking with me into 2017. I still have some challenges ahead of me and a couple surgeries yet to complete, but I know that this year is going to be better. I can just feel it. I’ve always seen the new year as a chance to refresh and start over, but never before has that feeling been as strong as it is this year. I am ready for 2017, and I’m going to do my best to make it a great year.
I wish you all joy and good health in 2017. It won’t be a perfect year, but I am hopeful it will be much better than what we’ve just finished.