I can count on one hand the things that went according to plan this year. Not that I had grand plans or anything, but if something could go wrong this year, it did. At full volume.
Three and a half months ago, my father passed away. I wish I could say that was the worst thing in the entire year, but it wasn’t. By mid-September I was so emotionally drained that when my father passed away I was simply too numb.
Normally I do an annual recap for the last post of the month. There’s very little about 2018 that I want to remember. It was a year filled with way too many hospital visits, health scares, financial distress, anxiety, and loss.
At Christmas last year, my father let us know his cancer had come back, and at some point in the coming year he’d need major surgery. In March my Dad turned 70, and four days later ended up in the hospital. The cancer was more aggressive than at first thought. So plans had to be cancelled and surgery was pushed up.
Early in the year, I was balancing working at the bookstore, and suddenly back at my old place of employment two days a week. I was helping with a transition due to staff departures. For a while it was fine. I knew I didn’t want to work back downtown, and the extra money was nice. Minimum wage isn’t a liveable wage. By March, with the extra stress of my dad’s health, I was burning out. I had to make a choice, and I let go of the job that wasn’t paying me enough for me to have financial stress on top of health and family. So at the end of March 2018, I said goodbye to Indigo.
I didn’t know what I was going to do next, but I had the brief respite of working three days a week back at the university, and the flexibility of when I was working so that if I was needed by my parents I could go. I also had the bonus comfort of being surrounded by people I’d worked with that I missed terribly, considered family, and who CARED about me. It was a surprise to me how much I needed to be where I was when everything was falling apart around me.
April and May proved to be a nightmare of anxiety, health scares, and more. And the more that got thrown at me, the less I felt I could breathe. I didn’t know what my future held. I didn’t know if everything I knew was over, and a lie, and how I was going to survive. My Dad was now on dialysis, my husband wasn’t well, jobs changed, my idea of how the year was supposed to pan out was erased from existence.
I was asked to consider staying on at the faculty. I was encouraged to apply for my friend’s maternity leave position. It would be a year. I’d be in a different department than the one I left. No matter how often I told people, “I already quit this job, I do not want to come back” the more they’d try to convince me I should come back. And in the end, I’d made a decision to test out this contract. It’s at the opposite end of the floor, it’s a completely different beast of a job, and I have been loving every second of it.
And as I hovered in “my dad isn’t doing well” limbo, I was again surrounded by people who cared deeply for me, and my family. Who understood the stress I was going through. And who understood that I might have to leave suddenly, but I couldn’t say WHEN. And then, on September 12 when my Mum called to say the doctor thought that we should visit that weekend because my dad wasn’t doing well at all, I knew that I could focus only on my grief and my Dad and not worry about any ill will from my office.
And my father, never a patient man, decided that after he saw both my sister and I, talked to his priest, talked with the grandkids via skype, talked with our husbands…simply passed away the morning after he’d seen us all. No one was expecting that. They were hoping to get into palliative care on the Monday. But while I was chatting with my Mum by phone, trying to see if I could stop by once more before I went home that weekend, he just…left. He didn’t have an easy night. My mother didn’t have an easy night. But I think he knew he was finished with what he needed to do and there was no reason for him to suffer any more.
And so I stayed with my mother that week. Shawn went home and came back the next weekend for the funeral. I had to buy clothes since I’d only packed for 2 days. And for once in my entire life, I didn’t OVER pack.
And health things, and more things, and so much sadness and negativity. And it’s been such a rough year. And it started last Christmas when my bank account was hacked. And it just kept going on and on and on.
I know we aren’t the only ones who had an awful year. I know too many others who also seemed to have an exceptionally bad year. I don’t know what it was about 2018 (other than it being one of those blasted Even-Numbered Years. Grrr.) but I am so ready to see another number on the calendar.
There were some good things though…
I am extremely lucky to have the love and support of my friends. Without some of them, I don’t know how I’d have gotten through so much. Monkey, especially, is possibly the best anchor a person can ask for. When I am not ok, she’s there to tell me that I will be, and that my head can lie. There were a lot of times this year when I wasn’t ok. I didn’t think I’d ever be ok again.
But I’m getting there.
And I made the right decision to take the job at the university. It’s been a huge learning curve, but fascinating, and very helpful at keeping me focused when everything outside of the office was going up in flames. And I felt so comforted and safe back with people I had grown to consider family in the 11 years I WAS there. And this new job is different enough that there’s nothing about it that triggers any PTSD reactions from being back downtown and across the street from that infernal building that caused me so much trauma. And I have felt so loved and welcomed (back). And I made a new friend, who was new to the faculty, too, and she has been a blessing to me this year.
And my Mum. My Mum is going to thrive. She’s sold the house, got herself her first ever apartment, and has been back here twice since my father passed – drove herself! We got to have a visit a Thanks Giving – always a family holiday in my family. And it almost happened that she wouldn’t be able to make it for Christmas as planned, but in the end she was able to drive here on Christmas Day and spend it with her grandkids and then stayed with us for a couple of days before heading back (before the freezing rain storm!) My sister and niece went out to visit her this past weekend to help her get her unpacking done and organized – and were there to celebrate her 70th birthday, so she wouldn’t be alone.
Lost jobs, lost health, new jobs, health learning curves, and all that. It’s been a roller coaster of a year and I don’t think I can put the pieces back together. I am hoping that 2019 sticks together better and then I can just sweep the shards of 2018 out the door and be done with them.
I don’t know what 2019 will bring. I DO know that I don’t have any ideas or plans for the year. This current year taught me that it’s simpler to just live each day as it dawns and go from there. No need to think about what might happen in May when I don’t even know what will happen by the end of the week. I’ll just deal with things as they happen. That seems to be the safest course of action. Here’s to rolling with it, yo!