It is with much emotion, and some trepidation, that I am formally taking the opportunity to send you this letter of farewell.
I have the overwhelming urge to flip you the bird while yelling, “So long sucker!”
The truth is that this is an unfair assessment of the preceeding 12 months. This was a year of manic-depressive highs and lows. I have to make a conscious effort to remember and relish the highs instead of letting the lows take the lead in my mind. When I stop and really assess my personal growth and development during the last year I realize that it was not during the easy days that I evolved. Rather, my greatest gains in emotional and spiritual wellbeing were hidden in the dark painful moments; the moments that caused me to turn inward and search for the tools to not just survive, but thrive.
Instead of giving you the finger and ‘Good Riddance’ that I superficially desire to give, I am instead thanking you.
Thank you for the pain and hardships you’ve dealt me this year. Without them I would be stuck in the same evolutional cycle that saw me through 2011.
Thank you for death. Death is raw. Death is painful. Death is final and strangely feels like abandonment and rejection, even though it is an unavoidable part of life.
I would never wish upon anyone the emotional shit-storm that comes with losing three family members in only several weeks time. We lost my father-in-law and my grandfather within hours of each other. Only weeks later my husband’s aunt (his late father’s sister) passed away. I’m not going to waste words quantifying our love for these people or the depth of our sense of loss. Words can not begin to convey.
My husband and I were both reduced to our reactive core; our primitive brains. We struggled to do the things necessary for basic survival for our family. I have little memory of these weeks. My mind and eyes took in all information through a veil of sadness and depression. Through it all I have clear, brilliant, pictures of God in our lives. Moments when my husband and I woke up from our funk enough to grab the other’s hand and pull back from the brink. There were times when friends stepped in to listen, called to care, brought food, and sent caring cards. God’s love poured over us through unexpected ways and we reemerged from our despair with more faith than ever before. Faith in God. Faith in each other. Faith that when life is in a downward swing, it will eventually swing back upwards again.
In the last weeks of 2012 we had the opportunity to get away to Mexico. Our first vacation without the kids. Just us! And 10 other friends… but no one who would need us to tend to their needs, especially in the middle of the night. On the heels of such a difficult and emotional few months, we were able to just focus on each other. It didn’t take long to remember the depth of our love and devotion to one another. I doubt it would have been so powerful, or so appreciated, had we not just emerged from the depths of despair.
This year taught me a lot about friendship and a lot about what it is not. It was not until I found myself emotionally eviscerated, with the bowels of my sense of self and purpose laying on the open pavement to be trod upon by all invited into my precious personal space, that I had the incentive to make changes in myself.
It was a gift to be forced to learn that it is unrealistic to think that I can handle all situations well enough to dissipate the bitterness and anger in others’ hearts. It was a gift to learn that I can respond to spite with love. It is a gift to bear the agony of social and emotional defeat. It is only after it’s firey death that the Phoenix can be reborn. We should all embrace our chances for personal growth, even when it requires a burn to get there.
So I say to you, 2012, with all sincerity: SO LONG. And THANKS for everything.