Reflecting on 2018

OK, I finally have figured out how to install WordPress on my own and am officially kicking off this new website. I’ve had it in mind for along time. I have all of these random thoughts that pass through my head that I want to share, but are not always appropriate on my other websites and I don’t necessarily want to share on my personal profile. Sometimes I do, but sometimes I just want to chew on something for a while. That’s my goal here.

I had a horrific 2018. In a nutshell, I kicked things off losing one of my closest college friends in an accident in mid-January. I lost a couple of other friends after that. Friends of mine were losing their parents. I took one particularly hard because he had Alzheimer’s, as did my own mother. I remembered him before the dementia kicked in and had spent a couple of years providing some of his kids, good friends of mine, as much support and advice as I could based on my own experiences. Others I didn’t know as well, but I felt my friends’ pain after having lost my father back in 2011.

Flash forward to July. I survived my first year in my 40s. Two weeks later, my mother got extremely ill and I ended up in the hospital with a random nasty infection from bug bites as she was moved into hospice for her final days. Somehow, she managed to survive until I got home. My sister and I were by her side when she finally crossed over to meet our father on the other side.

Two weeks to the day after my mother died, her aunt died. Two weeks after that, my dad’s youngest sister died. That’s three deaths in less than a month. My family is notorious for doing that. To add insult to injury, a few weeks later, my one of my best friend’s dads died. His parents and siblings had adopted me for the holidays after I lost my father and my mom was in the nursing home with Alzheimer’s, so his dad was like my dad, or at least an uncle. It was brutal.

A few weeks later, my friends’ son took his own life. I had met them while I was teaching, knew all of their boys through our aftercare program, and had spent one summer working with the boys at their home. I kept in touch with the parents for years after they moved. Their loss is one I still cannot wrap my head around.

And then I ended up in the hospital again, requiring kidney stone surgery. Go figure – the kombucha I had been so diligently drinking to stay healthy (and it really works) was creating a massive kidney stone, instead.

Things finally calmed down. There were still a few more issues rearing their ugly heads that are not completely resolved yet, that I’m not going to get into on here. A few of my favorite local hangouts all decided to close. One reopened under new management, at least. I know it sounds stupid, but I have a lot of local places that are like my own personal Cheers, and losing those places was like losing a friend, especially after such a tumultuous year.

And then 2018 decided to take away two more friends. One was a mentor with whom I had lost touch these past couple of years as mental illness consumed his life. The other was another mentor of sorts, whose birthday and memorial are actually today. I feel mentally, emotionally, and physically beaten up. But those are the cards I have been dealt.

So I am probably going to talk about a lot of these issues. If sharing my experiences can help just one other person, then my job is done. I’m also going to share a lot of personal development tips and journaling ideas. Again, if I inspire just one person, that will make me happy. It will also help me as I navigate the tricky waters of my own life. I live by the mantra of one foot in front of the other. There are good days and bad days. But the alternative is unthinkable.

Thanks for reading this far, if you have. And thanks for joining on this journey of mine. I look forward to our conversations.

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