A Look Back at a Rough Year
I hesitated to write this post because in life I try to not be in a place of non-gratitude. At least not outwardly. I don’t like putting that kind of energy into the universe as I feel that it often simply gets reflected back at us. Unhappiness can beget unhappiness. Manifestation is real. I believe that. Mainly because I have experienced it. And not in the “I created a vision board and now I’m a millionaire” way.
But in the speaking or worrying of fears into reality. 2018 wasn’t the best of years for me personally. It started out with a lot of excitement and a lot of vigor to try new things to grow…to be…better. New years always start that way, don’t they? And then halfway through you are simply holding on for dear life.
in the last six months of 2018 my life changed drastically. I can pinpoint it down to the day: June 7th, the day before my 38th birthday. My cat Declan injured his eye and we rushed him to the vet. I spent the following, day, my birthday, in bed with a sinus infection and a toothache. I sometimes jokingly think that those two days were omens of what was to come. I spent the next two months with my cat re-injuring his eye, and on expensive meds that didn’t seem to be working. My mother, who lived with me, spent her days chained to our apartment because we couldn’t leave him alone. It was a shitty way to spend the summer. Oh- and I also needed two dental surgeries in that time that were expensive. I just kept telling myself that this stressful phase would be over soon and things would get back to “normal”.
And then in the second week of September Declan began having health issues completely unrelated to his eye. On September 13th we took him to the vet thinking he had a cold. By the end of the day we walked out of the vet’s office with an empty cat carrier, devastated and thinking about how confused his brother Finn would be when we came home without him. My own grief was locked away as less than two weeks later my mother’s health would take a turn none of us were expecting.
Talking about a sick parent is a tricky thing. I want to respect her privacy. But I also want to honor my own emotional and mental well being by talking about how I feel and what these last three months have been like for me and my brother. In a word? Devastating. In a few words? Traumatic, confusing, stressful and exhausting. My mother is not the woman she was in January 2018. Or even September 2018. And she may never be again. And there is a special mourning that takes place when someone you love so much and know so well is no longer someone you recognize. My mother looks like herself, sure. But who she was as my mother is no longer there. I see it in glimpses here and there which give me moments of hope and optimism. But those moments are few and far between at the moment. We still have no definite diagnosis. Meetings with doctors, testing, phone call about insurance coverage these are the things that have been filling up most of my free time. The silver lining to all of this is that it has brought me and my brother closer than we’ve ever been. We are two kids who were raised by a single mom and we were her entire world. And we relied on her more than we probably should have in our adult years. The adjustment to it just being the two of us adulting together has been monumental.
So 2018 hasn’t been my favorite year. It’s been a year of uncomfortable growth, loss and grief. Even though I am a realist I am also an optimist. I want to go into 2019 always searching for that silver lining and having faith that wherever this journey is taking us as a family and me as a woman that we can handle it and God willing - come out on the other end better, and stronger. I have to remind myself that faith isn’t just a word. We must live it. And living with faith is at it’s hardest in the darkest of times. I have managed to keep my sense of humor through all of this, my sense of wanting to be the best version of me, my sense of wanting to enjoy my life. I haven’t fallen completely into despair, though at times it does feel like I am on the precipice of doing so. And that in and of itself is a victory. And each day I am waking up to fight the battle anew. I want to close out this post with two verses from the Qur’an that have always helped me: