Just as I was seeking suitable objects to gouge the eyes out of 2016, immolate it and send it off to blazes, I saw a post this morning reminding us of the good things in 2016.
My temper tantrum can wait, I suppose.
The poster was right, you know.
Yes, there was indeedy do a lot wrong – a whole lot wrong with 2016. But, I’ve never been a fan of throwing the baby out with the bathwater – and the end of this year is no time to start.
So – what went right? Moreover, how do I find the bright in so much sorrow?
Well, the “big event” in JudiLand, as my friends and followers know all too well, was the loss of my husband. He passed away three months (precisely to the day, in fact) after he was handed his “death sentence” by the doctors.
Three months can either seem like an eternity or a second, depending on your viewpoint. I tried so hard to stretch them into an eternity. I was afforded the “luxury” (if you want to call it that) of the realization that his time remaining on earth was going to be short. I got to say I love you countless more times than before. Unlike those who have lost loved ones suddenly in an accident, a murder, a tragedy – I, we, were given “advance warning”. I took the opportunity I was given to love him harder, stronger than I ever had. I was blessed, yes blessed by a community of caring souls who allowed me to devote each second of his final days to his care without concern for keeping a roof over our heads.
But, in retrospect, three months passed faster than a comet. Did I do enough? Love enough? Make up for any real or imagined slight that may have occurred in the previous two decades? I’d promised him when we met that I’d love him for as long as I had him and I’d always try to make him smile. All I am left with now is the hope that he knew, even in his unimaginable pain the last few years of his life, that he was the sun that my world revolved around. I’ll flatter myself by thinking that he did, but I will always wonder if I could have done more.
Also, in those three months and the months afterward, I learned a valuable lesson – death truly does bring out either the very best or the very worst in people. Support poured in from the most unlikely of places, and duplicity, avarice and downright hatefulness also surfaced in people and places previously unimaginable. The entire year, in fact, was an unmasking if you will – of people who talk the talk but aren’t willing to walk the walk as well as a revelation of who the people are that you truly know who you can count on in even the darkest of times.
Things that seemed earth shaking half a year before suddenly lost their importance. And fear has now become a commodity that lost a lot of its power. In a conversation with my sister a month after hubby’s death, I confided that I thought what was “holding me back” from completing the book was fear. She stopped me in my tracks and pointed out that I had just had my husband die in my arms as I was trying to save him, and, “After that – what the hell do you have to be afraid of?”
And the swift kick in the posterior I needed to move forward.
I had faced the end of the world – the end of his world, and the world we knew together anyway – and yet, I was still here.
There is an Irish blessing that says, in part:
“I wish you not a path devoid of clouds, nor a life on a bed of roses, not that you might never need regret, nor that you should never feel pain.
No that is not my wish for you.
My wish for you is: That you might be brave in times of trial, when others lay crosses upon your shoulders.
When mountains must be climbed and chasms are to be crossed; when hope scarce can shine through.
That every gift God gave you might grow along with you.
And let you give the gift of joy to all who care for you.
That you may always have a friend who is worth that name, whom you can trust, and who helps you in times of sadness. Who will defy the storms of daily life at your side.
One more wish I have for you: That in every hour of joy and pain, you may feel God close to you.
This is my wish for you and all who care for you.
This is my hope for you now and forever. “
I’ll add to that – I wish for you the necessary kicks in the posterior, administered as needed, whenever you stop for too long overthinking or fearing your next move forward.
I wish for you the clarity of discernment without too much attendant pain, so you can navigate through people and situations that do not have your best interests at heart.
I wish for you wide eyed wonder and gratitude at the small miracles that are presenting themselves to you each day, and not only the wisdom for you to see them, but the will to seek them out – especially on cloudy gloomy days.
At the end of a most challenging year, I’ve found friends who are truly worth that name, who have stood with me in defiance of the storms and who have helped me be brave in times of trial.
In 2017, I hope to give the gift of joy to all of you in return.
But 2016 still sucked scissors.