Bring on 2012!On the evening of December 31, 2011 before I was to head off to a rockin’ party to celebrate and ring in the new year, I decided to write a letter to the year 2011, a dear John, if you will. As I put pen to paper, I was ready to let this year, 2011 know where it had done me wrong! As I thought for a moment I realized it wasn’t only about my pain and sorrow, but that this year had also helped me grow. There was no denying it, it had indeed caused me to expand and find unbelievable strength, faith and love for myself, my family, my friends.
So I wrote.
Crazy?! I mean, it’s not a person I was writing to. It was some failed vision of what a run on of 365 days was for me. This was the year that had me expand beyond my wildest dreams and had me address issues that I did my very best to hide from. As I reviewed my year, I realized that this was just my story, my version 2011.
It was for me:
The last photo of my parents in front of their Christmas tree, January 7, 2011. Their smiles, their love. My father holding my mothers hand. The love story, as she slipped away from this physical world as he grasped for a last moment, an exclamation point of their life together. The turmoil of my original family members as we all fought for our space and longed for our voices to be heard without regard for the voices of others. The pain of having a sibling try to take me “out” with his bare hands as they were wrapped around my neck. The police that took him away. How my family stood strong with me, for me. The silence. The burial of my mother, the intense sorrow of the unresolved. Moving my dad, grandpa across the country to live with my family with his dog, Spot. The strength, understanding and love that poured forth from my husband, children and friends. The gratitude I felt, knowing I was so loved. Dad’s chair, glasses, pillows, size 13 shoes. The two glasses of red wine a night, just to get some rest. Trying to focus on work, read, cook. My back going out. Not being able to walk. The hospital, the drugs. The rehab. The holistic rehab. Water, water, water. Juicing, juicing, juicing. Clients. My lonely father. Graduation from college of our eldest with honors and with a job waiting. The joy of motherhood. My father telling me his life story as we drove to pick up my daughter from college. Knowing this would be the last time I’d ever hear it. Going back to Chicago to wrap things up. Pay off debts, order the headstone, sell the house, visit the relatives, or just the ones that wanted us. The overwhelming sorrow. My father losing his strength, his breath. The rush to the hospital on fathers day, my birthday. The pacemaker. ICCU. Rehab, hospital, rehab, hospital. The Family Balancing Act. Rehab, hospital. Hurricane Irene. Power outage. Junior football, back to school, high school football. Following my art. Family. Hospital, rehab, hospital for the final time. Holding his hand as I told him how much I loved him, but that he could go, it was his time. He did. The silence. Feeling like an orphan. Wanting my mother. The strength of my husband, children, friends. Going back to Chicago and doing it all over again. Exhaustion. Keeping up with life. Chasing life. Chasing myself, my children. Meditate, pilates, yoga. Snowstorm, child’s broken ankle. Power outage. A sign from beyond and within. Thanksgiving. Family noise and silence. Missing my parents and what was a year ago; phone calls, their voices. Missing the connection of my original family, but not the pain. Acknowledging the pain of loss and the joy of gain. Going deeper. Work, cooking, high school football championship at MetLife Stadium. Pride, joy, fun. Stress of Christmas. Family, friends, food, travel, joy, LOVE. New Years eve, pen, paper, the fireplace, me.
Speaking with friends, family, clients and even those in line at the grocery store, everyone it seems was wishing 2011 away. Get it done with and move on. For so many, this was the year of losses; loved ones, friends, jobs, finances, things, misunderstandings, assumptions placed on situations or people. In the end though, it’s really about our attitude, our vision, our perception of what was presented to us this past year. Yes, it had been an incredibly difficult year. Each of us have our own story of 2011, but within our story is a gift, if we choose.
What was your gift of 2011? Will 2012 really be better?
I really did write my letter to 2011, ripped it up and burned it in the fireplace. I sent it out into the universe, but with a different intention then I had started with. When I released it, I did so with gratitude. In looking forward to all that 2012 brings, I will forever hold the memory of 2011 deep within my soul. There it will always be, never to be forgotten, for it’s now a part of my DNA. I learned a lot about myself, those I love and who love me. I learned a lot about the stories of my ancestors, their affect on each other, and how passing them forward can clear up or cloud so much of who we are. I also learned that I can chose to continue them or not. I can use them to empower or dis-empower my family. Who we are, what we talk about and pass down are just stories, to be believed or not. They will continue, and are held within the next chapter of the new year to become a stepping stone to a better future. A new adventure is to be told, until we reach yet another year, another chapter.
I am eternally grateful for you 2011. Thank you.