Tonight, we all say good-bye to 2019, the suckiest, most painful years of my entire life. When the hands of our clocks strike midnight, I will be shooting my middle finger up in the air and saying “f-you, 2019…don’t let the door hitcha”.
In the first six months of 2019, I had a cancer scare with a thyroid nodule that had me examining my life and all the what-could-haves. The recovery from my thyroidectomy was hard and for six emotional weeks, I was sleep-deprived, exhausted, anxious, depressed and achy. The thyroid controls more of your emotions and body than you can ever imagine…or so I found out. Once the medication was stabilized, it got better, yet those six weeks were not kind. And right when I started to feel better, Death came a-knocking.
In the first six months of 2019, before my thyroid surgery, my daughter and my son moved out. I was over-the-moon proud to see my children make their own way in life. It is what I parented them to do. It also hurt to let go of them in order to walk on their own paths in life. After spending years walking beside them, offering them their home as their soft place to land, I had to let go and let go of a part of me, a part that I didn’t know how to fill. So, despite my pride in them and my desire to see them achieve, it was painful to have to face a new definition of myself as a mother.
Of course with an empty nest, there were rest-of-my life possibilities with my best friend, with Peter, lying ahead of me. Before the kids left home, Peter and I talked a lot about what our lives together would look like in our final chapter together. We wanted this time, the two of us, to travel, to be open to the endless activities involving just the two of us, and to dream of and explore all our prospects in our last chapter together. When the empty nest came, it was now our start of something new, something exciting, something to draw us closer. But that didn’t happen, and I shattered.
On July 1, 2019, at approximately 3:07 pm, my best friend, my lover, my husband, half of me, was killed. In one second of time, as a truck failed to yield and hit Peter on his motorcycle, everything stopped, everything changed. Peter died instantly and instantly, I stopped being the person I once was, the person I’ll never be again, because the person who meant everything to me, was suddenly, no longer.
In the first six months of 2019, I lived a lifetime and in it, my entire definitions were erased, leaving me confused as to who I am exactly. My surgery had me thinking about my own existence. I was no longer the mom of children who needed me. And my entire future as well as half of me, altered in one brutal second. I am still reeling from the hits I took. I’m still not steady. Yet I’m standing, despite the attempts of those first six months to knock me on my ass. And if people think it’s amazing I am still standing…like it was some great feat…let me tell you, there was no choice. There was no Option B, as I have said over and over in 2019. It’s just something I was forced upon me like some unwanted illness. Nothing amazing about any of it.
In these last six months of 2019, I have lived in a daze. At times, I feel I am a spectator, not a participant, in my own life. Sure, most of the time I have moved ahead, moved on, I keep moving, sometimes even with a smile, yet I move in shocking movements. There are times where I can’t move at all because it’s too much and the pain paralyzes me while the thoughts of disbelief hold me to the ground. Every day, at one point in the day or throughout it, I feel as if this is not my life, too uncomfortable to embrace any of it. I feel like a zombie walking through life with the hopes of feeding on meaning or purpose.
I am hoping 2020 is kinder to me after the brutality of 2019. I see my own growth in 2019, and I see the person I still don’t know. 2019 changed me forever, changed who I am even to the core of me. I see what anger and grief destroyed in me. I see what challenges and hurdles built up in me. I feel a strength I never called on before and courage I never knew existed in me. I want to be more comfortable in myself, more confident and more optimistic about my life. Perhaps 2020 will give back to me what 2019 took away, and more. Perhaps 2020 will be my defining year. Or maybe 2019 was and 2020 will build from that foundation. Whatever 2020 holds, all I know is I’m okay, more than okay, to see 2019’s farewell tonight with wishes of a better year ahead.