The year really began six weeks before the calendar turned over to 2016. It began on Nov. 15, 2015, when an aneurysm ruptured in my brain. That event kicked off a long sequence of events that made 2016 one of the most memorable years of my life.
Many days it seemed as though my life was falling apart. Tom’s stroke, the house suffering water damage and tree damage, the relentless drought, the inability to focus and think clearly, all peppered with sniper attacks of anxiety. I’m not even going to mention the election.
No need to belabor in detail how much strain I’ve been under. Let’s move on.
The year wasn’t all bad. Our team was awarded a grant for another year’s project in Pakistan, and we launched a print magazine. I learned more about working in fused glass and produced some pieces that I’m pleased with (even sold a few).
The very best part of 2016 was finding and learning about Tom’s biological parents – and the capper, meeting and getting to know his father, sister and aunts. They could have slammed the door in his face – but they opened it, and embraced us both.
Even the “bad” events had positive results. The house will be stronger, safer, and in much better condition than it was before. Tom will come through the stroke in better health because he quit smoking, takes corrective meds and is changing his diet and exercise habits. I lost 25 pounds, am learning new ways to reduce stress, and have a deeper appreciation of the depths of my resilience.
This year also gave me daily opportunities to practice gratitude. I’m grateful for the high quality of health care that Tom and I have received – without it, we could both be permanently disabled. I’m grateful for the terrific insurance coverage that restored our house, provided income during Tom’s disability, and took care of medical expenses – without these, we’d have been bankrupted.
I’m grateful for the support of the incredibly professional and caring team that I work with, who kept our Pakistan projects moving when I could not lead. Most of all, I’m grateful for the kindness of a thousand strangers who helped us along the way, the supportive comments from so many of you who read The Weight of My Days, and the loyalty and love of family and friends.
Through everything that happened this year, I kept writing.
When the clock struck midnight, my blog was up to date: 544 published posts, one for every single day since July 7, 2015. Some of the posts were even pretty good.
My writing is my biggest accomplishment of 2016, and it was propelled by the need to write about what was happening to me. It kept me sane.
2016 is over.
We made it.
Today’s penny will be a 2016, as soon as I can get my hands on one.