We enter into a New Year and we are all so hopeful no matter how great or dreadful the previous year may have been. When we entered 2021, we all took a collective sigh of relief because we figured that no year could be worst than 2020. Much like everyone, I resolved that if I could make it through home school, work from home and full time mask wearing, 2021 was going to be great…until it wasn’t. In writing this, please let me give full transparency that this post is not about how I overcame the year. I am still very much in the trenches which includes being sad, hurt and at times despondent. But this was the year that changed me and the way that I parent for better or worse.
At the beginning of the year, my husband and I took a couples retreat to Gatlinburg with our closet friends. We had an absolute amazing time and felt that a corner had been turned. One where we felt somewhat “normal” and like we could have fun again. It was refreshing to take a minute without our children and spend time with 6 of our favorite couples and bond and talk about how the pandemic had thrown us all for a loop. At the end of the trip we parted and said we would do this again next year. But three months later, one of our friends from our trip was rushed to the hospital. She had a brain aneurysm and passed away immediately. This was, and still is, devastating news. It broke me that my seemingly healthy and happy 39 year old friend left us so suddenly.
But as the year progressed, several great things did happen. As a family we got busier with cheer, basketball, football and my husband started a business. So at camp Beaven we were super busy and that progressed through the summer. As we got much needed R&R this summer, we were hit with the heavy news that my son’s preschool teacher and now family friend passed away unexpectedly at home. I couldn’t wrap my head around it – we had just seen her after she made sure our children had life vests for vacation. We were so unprepared and for someone with anxiety, this felt like more than I could bear. This began the reclusion; I could not write, I could not reconcile such a loss and I felt myself become more and more depressed.
It all became too much. I threw myself into work and plans for my 40th birthday. Yes, this year I turned 40 which was a welcome distraction. But on October 17th one of my best friends, Patrice, was killed in a fatal car accident just a week before my birthday party. Our last text was how excited she was to celebrate my birthday. This was it. It was all too much. How could I come back from this? How could I possibly honor her memory? It couldn’t just be by changing my profile pictures. I threw myself into caring for her babies, her 5 babies.
I felt that 2021 had dealt me an extremely terrible hand and I could no longer pretend I was fine. My family and friends rallied around me and I felt the love and the pain. My family became my refuge and I barely left the house. After adjusting my anxiety medication and working on healing with my therapist, I realized that 2021 doesn’t have a vendetta against me. Painful things happen to everyone. I am sharing these things because I am not sure if I will ever be the same. But I have learned to take time for myself and hold the people that I love dear. Time can be a great teacher if you listen. 2021 was the year that changed me.