It’s 2019! Officially. Has everyone survived into this New Year? Hopefully without TOO much of a hangover?
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been happier to finish a calendar year. 2018 was the most challenging year of my adult life thus far — even harder than losing my father in 2010. And I’m beyond happy to see it come to a close.
2018 began with the stress of dealing with my grandmother’s end-of-life care. As her guardian, it was left to me to make decisions I hardly understood about her life and finances once she was no longer able to. And, at the end of January when she was put into hospice, it took almost a week for her body to shut down. A week of watching her barely eat her last meals and barely sleep a wink until she became too weak. A week of horror as my sister and I watched the last member of our father’s family pass.
Not even a month later my husband’s cousin passed away unexpectedly while still in her 30’s. It’s FLOORED us. None of us saw it coming and her tragic loss is yet another hardship that’s too complicated to put to words here.
Come spring things felt like they were picking up until my husband and I ran into a nightmare of entangled problems with my grandmother’s estate. Some of which we only managed to completely settle last week. And most of which we still barely understand…
By summer, our beloved dog Johnny began to take a bad turn for the worse. He was vomiting multiple times a day and for a few weeks, it felt like I was living at the vet, we were there for so many tests and procedures.
Looking back Hubby and I should have seen that the end was near (Johnny was never a healthy dog to begin with) but we didn’t. Smart as we thought we were, we justified his limping and intense rounds of medication as a “phase” and as arthritis. He’d always bounced back before… why not this time?
In August my sister and I spent almost a week cleaning out my grandmother’s house in Florida. She’d lived there for over 60 years and the surprises and memorabilia we found floored us (not to mention physically exhausted us). We ended up shipping home almost 150 lbs. of our father’s family heritage. Letters and photos of an entire side of our family that is now dead. Photos that I still, months later, struggle to look through without sobbing.
But by September and October things finally seemed to calm. Hubby and I’s businesses were both picking up and we finally had time (after dealing for months with my grandmother’s estate) to focus on projects that made us happy. We finally had time to focus on us.
October was the best month of the year by far. Hubby and I spent LOADS of time together with our pups and our families just being. And thank goodness.
Because by November things became chaotic again, with our schedules quickly becoming jammed and our stress climbing and climbing. We had one last Thanksgiving with our pug Johnny and for that I’ll always be grateful. But he was gone by the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Along with any semblance of strength Hubby and I thought we had left.
And, as Hubby’s work schedule picked up again, we had little time to process and grieve together with him flying back and forth to NYC.
Our trip last month to London, while necessary given that it was a) non-refundable and b) an opportunity for a distraction, proved to be more stressful than we’d wished. And with Hubby and I feeling just too defeated from this year to fully enjoy it.
Yes, 2018 sucked.
There were beautiful parts. Poignant parts. And very memorable parts to be sure. And I promise to share all those moments with you over the next week — I absolutely never want this site to be a negative space. But 2018 really feels like the year that kept kicking us down. Every-time I felt like I stood up, dusted myself off and began walking again, another tragedy would blow in like a whirlwind, leaving me exhausted and unbelievably weak. Not to mention empty.
Over the past year I let my health go down the tubes. I drank away too many of my sorrows. And I lashed out too much at my loved ones when I should have been stronger.
Keep Calm and Carry On as the Queen would say!
Good-bye 2018. I won’t miss you.
2019, I’m ready for you. I’m ready for a year marked more by gains than losses. A year filled with healthy habits, not destructive ones. A year filled with simple happiness. And, hopefully, some inspiring travels to reawaken my photography and my work here.
Thank you for following along and for all of your support this year. I feel so ready for this seemingly unending stream of tragedy to quell for a while. I’m ready for challenges I’ve created for myself, as opposed to challenges that sucker punch me out of no where.
I’m ready for you 2019, let’s do this!
SHOP THE LOOK:
Photos courtesy of my sister Emily