Thursday, December 31, 2015

The end of 2015

In less than an hour 2015 will roll into 2016. I'll start writing a new date but other than that, any other changes to the year will come mostly as a surprise. I've made resolutions hundreds of times, sometimes to do something and sometimes to not do something. I remember those more. The "dos" have been similar year after year: eat better, read my scriptures more often, exercise more, etc. The "don'ts" that were the most memorable were: don't shop at Wal-Mart (that resolution lasted four years before I entered a Wal-Mart again) and don't buy any new clothes. I think that was 2006. I bought socks and underwear during the year but I didn't buy new clothes. I got a few new things as birthday presents but it really wasn't that hard to make it a year without shopping for clothes. I could do it again but I don't want to. And I'm not really even a shopper; I'm a pretty lousy consumer.

This year I have a new don't: don't swear. I'm going to see if I can consciously clean up my language. I don't even swear all that often nor do I use the really foulest of words. But I do swear occasionally and I'm going to try to stop this year. I just shouldn't have to use a swear word in any instance and I think I'll be a better person for it.

This has been a good year. I've gotten close to my three grand babies - they are my favorites. I've been able to write and edit a bit, keeping my talents honed. My health is mostly good, my marriage is happy, I have a wonderful church calling and a nice home. Our children are good friends with us and we love to be together. Riley's job is stable and he still enjoys it.

We visited a new continent this year - Africa. It was an amazing adventure - one we will never forget. We saw new land, animals and people. We dipped our toes in both the Indian and Atlantic oceans. We rode elephants and got up close and personal with lions, zebras and rhinos. We hiked in beautiful forests and saw stunning African sunsets. It was a dream come true.

This was a hard year too. My mom's health has drastically declined. So much so that I wonder how she is still here. She probably weighs no more than 75 pounds, if that. She doesn't talk much, sleeping about 99 percent of the time. She eats maybe 4-5 bites of food a day. Her conversations are mostly, "I love you," something I love to hear but I'd sure like her to be able to back it up with hugs and laughter, like the mom I used to know.

We had to take apart her house this year. There were difficult times with siblings that hurt my heart. I tried to be as gentle as possible with her things, finding new homes for items rather than just throwing them out. It was long, tedious, challenging, tear-inducing and therapeutic all at once. I cried many tears alone and with family members in the house I grew up in. I walk through empty rooms now and close my eyes, picturing what was once there, the familiarity I loved for so many years. A "for sale" sign is planted in the front yard. People are going online to take "virtual tours" of the bare rooms where now only memories reside. I'm ready to sell it. That chapter is closing and with that closing, a huge burden is being lifted. Since the last day I hauled things off I have slept better, through the night. I don't wake up at 3 a.m. with a long to-do list in my head. It's nice. People talk about things being bittersweet. This is just that - bitter because it has been a place for my heart for 54 years and now I have to bid it goodbye; sweet for the same reason because I have decades of packed memories to sustain me. And really, the house isn't a home without my mom there and she will never return so for me, letting it go is ok, I've made peace with the fact that things won't be as they once were. She is moving on so we need to move on too.

I don't know what 2016 will bring. At the beginning of 2015 I thought I knew my mom was going to die during the year, that the death year on her headstone would be 2015. Not so. It will be 2016. Of that I am sure. There is no way her tiny, frail, quiet body will hang on for a year. So the big surprise will be when - what month; what day? We will bury my mom's body in 2016 but her love, laughter, happiness and spirit will live on eternally, of that I am sure as well.

What else will come in 2016? There are definitely surprises in store - I just hope they are all good ones. I know we grow when we face and overcome adversity but I'd love to steer clear of any for a while. I think I've encountered enough these past eight years with my mom and the decline of her health. My hope is for health and happiness for me, Riley and our family. We are comfortable financially - we paid off our mortgage in 2015 - a banner event! We feel the discomforts of aging and we aren't thrilled with them. But we will try to stay healthy and mobile for many years.

I will also try to do those things I always try to do better at - eat better, exercise more, read my scriptures ... and I will set other goals. I just need to figure out what they will be.

No comments:

Post a Comment