2013 is coming to an end and I cannot say that I am sad for it to be it over. This was the toughest year of my life and I am very glad that it is complete. My year began with a phone call from DJ on the morning of January 1st. He had stayed at my parent’s house for New Years Eve. During the night, my mom had been rushed to the emergency room with a heart attack. Fortunately, it was mild, but with all of her other health conditions, she stayed there for a few days until the felt she was well enough to go home.
That same day, I wound up with a migraine. I have suffered from them for years but little did I know that this headache and many more, would last me EIGHT months. MRI’s, numerous specialists and appointments, various medications did not help but finally, in August, a new doctor suggested a few things to try, and perhaps it was one – or the combination of several, but I went from having five or six headaches a week, to only two or three a month. This is huge for me and I am so grateful for each day that I wake up headache free. In January and February, my blog focused mainly on kindness and sharing stories that spread kindness. That was the original intent of my blog.
Then, March came along and my life was changed forever. On March 8th, my mom, who was suffering from COPD for years, stopped breathing on her way to my grandmother’s house. It was just a routine 10 minute drive. They were actually headed to Florida the next day, so this was totally unexpected. By the time my dad reached the hospital, she had been without oxygen for too long. She was kept alive on life support for a week but we made the decision as a family to take her off of it on Friday, March 15th . That entire week, I wrote about nothing but my mom. My blog took a total turn from just writing about kindness, yet was being read by hundreds of people everyday. My mom had touched the lives of so many people and I have been told that this blog helped them understand what our family was dealing with and getting us all through the hardest time of our lives. Writing her eulogy and then reading it at her funeral, was so hard but I needed to do it and that church was so filled with people that loved her and loved us, it helped begin the healing process for me. Throughout the rest of the month, my entire blog focused on mom and her friends and our first holidays, St. Patrick’s Day and Easter without her.
April arrived. It has always been one of my favorite months. Spring had sprung and we had all begun to adjust to mom not being around and then we had the devastating news of my sister-in-law Francine. What a shock to our family. Two deaths in our family in less than a month. She was only 31 and she and my brother Tim had just found out that she was pregnant with twins. Once again, my blog provided an outlet, for me to write it and for others to read it and try to comprehend what our family was going through. The day I wrote Francine’s story, over 1000 people saw it. Incredible to me that so many people were empathizing with our family. This led to even more blogs about family and coping with death. Tim had asked me if I’d also do a eulogy for her and of course I said yes.
Although I did not know him well, death touched our family again when my brother-in-law’s father passed away at the end of April. Bad things happen in 3s. My father could not believe how unfair this year was
I turned 43 in May and although it was not quite the same without mom around, my family and friends did so much to help make is a special one for me. Our first mothers day without mom was low key and we made it through without too many tears. All those “firsts” came and went without mom and Francine, birthdays, holidays, Christmas… but we got through them with the support of our family and friends. Thank God for all of them because without them, I don’t know where we’d be today.
Things really did settle down for us once Summer arrived but then, on Labor Day, my sister’s birthday, she wound up in the hospital for emergency surgery to have her gall bladder removed. Fortunately that was routine and after a little less than a week, she was home recovering.
I will admit that there were some positive things that happened this year… There is now a beautiful bench dedicated to my mom in the park given by my class and The Kiwanis club. Dave and I celebrated our 20th Wedding Anniversary. On October 18th, NJ passed the marriage equality law. giving everyone the freedom to marry and to me, that is a huge step in the right direction. Because of that, we were able to attend the wedding of two friends Eddie and Todd.
I surprised myself by sticking to TWO New Years Resolutions this year. I did the 52 week money challenge AND wrote my blog everyday this year. I am trying to find the positive in this year. My two boys are healthy and happy and enjoying school. I love my job and look forward to going to work everyday. Dave got some licenses he needs to move ahead in his career in the mortgage business. Now, if he could drum up some business for 2014, that will be a huge step in the right direction!So here’s to the end of 2013 – and a positive outlook to the future. As we move forward, may 2014 bring you and your families happiness and good health!