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The End of Another Year, 2017!! — suzanne-mcrae.com

The End of Another Year, 2017!!

2017 has been another pretty intense year around here.

This year, Dad was so ill and in so much pain constantly. It seemed like very little was being done to help his situation and that was extremely difficult to be witness to. He passed away on July 14th. It was like a déjà vu with him, so similar in so many ways to what Mom had endured the past few years with her own health and pain level. I never imagined we would be losing Dad so soon since he had always been in good health, up to the last 8 months of his life or so. This past year has been a time where my siblings and I chose to step up much more to help support my parents wherever they were needing help. I’m super proud of each one of us and what we have been able to give back to our parents.

There’s been so much big health stuff that’s been at the core of our lives, for so many of us in my family in the last 3-4 years. At times its felt insane the constant demands of it all, and so hard to understand. It’s all been happening with parents, my husband, our daughter, then the cancer diagnosis that I was given over 2 years ago. It’s all felt like TOO MUCH some days. It’s been so much for me to be in the middle of, and somehow attempt to navigate through.

I have come to realize that there are times in life you just don’t understand WHY about certain things in your life. You may never understand why. 

But WHY SO MUCH?

WHY SO MUCH ALL AT ONCE?

I have asked myself that question many times. What I have learned and all I could do was loosen the grip that I had at those times, but also to hold on to whatever hope I had to be brought through whatever it is that God has in mind for each of us. Most days I just haven’t been able to understand the magnitude or meaning of any of it. I have had to tell myself repeatedly on many of those days that it’s not for me to know or to understand. On days that I can do this, it softens everything. 

Losing my father this year has brought me closer to God. I have found comfort in reading the Bible and connecting to the greatest wisdom and truth that there is. It’s helping me on so many levels, and with my life and that of my family. I still may not know the answer to the WHY, but I am finding comfort and peace along the way regardless of the outcome for any of it. 

This year after a 2 year wait our son received a placement in a residential home. That process began unfolding when my father was dying in the hospital. I don’t know how I did, but I got through those very intense weeks. My husband and I accepted the placement for him. Our son comes back to our home a few days a week. It’s been going ok for both him and for us. Actually it’s been way better than we had anticipated. Since his diagnosis in 1993 until this summer when we heard of the placement opportunity for him, we have had those past 24 years of realizing that one day this would need to happen. Those years have been way more difficult, even torturous because it was on our minds constantly. We had many years of imagining what it might look like in our minds. That’s not always the best way of seeing things. This transition with our son has not been as difficult as we had imagined it to be. I believe that because our son has done well with this transition, that alone is making a world of difference for all of us. 

In letting go of these two very important men in my life this year, in each in their own way has taught me so much.

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In 2017 I didn’t blog very much at all. Nine blog posts in total. This has been one of the quietest years for me with regards to writing and sharing since I began my blog 5 1/2 years ago. 

Since the beginning in 2012, I have written and shared…

  • 2012: 92 blog posts 
  • 2013: 44 blog posts 
  • 2014: 10 blog posts 
  • 2015: 24 blog posts 
  • 2016: 11 blog posts 
  • 2017: 9 blog posts 

I would love to do way better in 2018. With that said, I realize that I judge myself way too harshly. I stop myself from writing and sharing because I have felt for so many years that my life feels messy and intense and who in heck wants to read about that. I sometimes think that no one else on this planet has so many issues and challenges like I do. But I could be just a little wrong there. Surely, I cannot be alone in that department.

As much as I have wanted to show up, be more real, to be able to show up with my joy and the sorrows, the challenges and successes and everything in between in my writing, and in my paintings, it’s been way harder than I have ever imagined for me, to just do it. Hence why I haven’t written or shared much. I realize that I just have to decide that I will do it regardless, and start.

This year I wrote about my Dad’s passing quite a bit. I also wrote a few blog posts about my son and the transition he was going through. Then I shared a blog post about a painting I had created that was almost abandoned. It still gives me goosebumps when I see it hanging on the wall, or read about my experience that I wrote about. And weeks before Dad passed away I entered more paintings in a Juried Art Exhibition and one of my small paintings received an honourable mention. I was over the moon happy for this red ribbon and recognition. Then there’s the blog posts that didn’t get written yet that I had in mind, so hopefully I’ll blog about those in 2018 even though they happened this year. 

What I want is more of this new year is for the focus and attention to go towards continuing to improve my health, putting into practice way more self-care, and loads more of creating and writing. I also want to give myself permission to go out and explore perhaps different things now that I have a bit more freedom to do so. I’m a home-body so this may take a little coaxing to convince myself to get out of my comfort zone. In 2018 I almost can’t believe this, but I will be turning 60. When did that happen? It feels like in the blink of an eye, the last 30 years have come and gone. So I want to try slowing down the blinking of the eyes, and see if I can align myself towards all that I wish to create and do in these next years and hopefully many more decades that I have left on this planet. 

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This fall we had new windows and doors installed on our 32-year-old home. That renovation project left a nice layer of dust everywhere. I had major cleaning to do just weeks before Christmas, but I got it done. 

 

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Last December Mom and Dad started a new tradition to bring our family together to celebrate Christmas. Since our family has grown, and grown over the years there are many of my parents grandchildren who now have children. So Mom and Dad had rented a hall close to their home and we celebrated together in a much bigger space. Dad was there last year, but this year he wasn’t. I struggled days before that celebration I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t myself. Then I realized it that day at the celebration, I was missing Dad terribly. I hadn’t experienced that level of grief since he had died. He wasn’t going to be there with us at that celebration. Several family members were able to come this year again. There was lots of good food, fun and games, and again a few got dressed up in their silly Christmas costumes. This year my sister definitely won for the Best Costume. She was the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and her husband was a good sport and was the little dog Max from the movie. I received permission to share this photo of my sister. She did an awesome job creating her costume.

This year on Christmas Eve as we put presents under the tree for everyone at our home, I thought of trying something a little different to possibly help our son not be so anxious on Christmas morning. Opening presents can be stressful for him. I decided to put all the gifts for each of us in separate piles under the tree as opposed to all mixed together in no specific order. I didn’t know if that would help Kyle or not, but definitely thought it was worth a try when the idea came to me. Christmas can either be extremely pleasant and fun with him, or it turns into a Christmas from hell at times. We never know how he will do until the day itself. I was willing to try anything to help make it a pleasant one. Before putting presents under the tree that evening we all watched a few Mr. Bean movies. He sat with us and enjoyed watching and laughing along.

Morning came, our daughter got him to come upstairs, it was time to open presents. We all laughed as he came into the living room and began jumping up and down like Mr. Bean had done at his own Christmas morning in the movie.

His sister explained to him about his gifts being all in one pile and it did the trick perfectly. He had little to no anxiety about opening presents this year. It made for a very pleasant morning. 

We celebrated Christmas dinner at Mom’s. This year I loved that 4 of our guys got up and did all the dishes. Impressive!!

Dad’s 87th birthday would have been on December 28th. I wanted to have some sort of celebration to remember him on that day. I didn’t know if any other family members would want to come over for a meal and an evening of fun or not, or how they’d feel about such a celebration after just losing Dad this year. I invited everyone and half of my family were able to come. We were 18 in total. A few brought salads and I made a meal that Dad had enjoyed many times at our home in the past.

I had found a centrepiece idea that I really liked and my daughter helped me put it together with photos of Dad. One is of him blowing out his birthday candles at our home at his last birthday, a year ago. We often had my parents over for their birthdays to celebrate them. I’m very happy that we chose to remember his special day even though his physical presence wasn’t with us this year. 

The holidays are winding down and I’m grateful for the quieter days ahead. I have really enjoyed having both our kids home for the holidays. Our daughter just went back home today, and our son goes back tomorrow.

Happy New Year to all of you!! May God bless you and your loved ones in 2018. May you experience miracles and abundance and joy and laughter and whatever else you might wish to experience or have in your lives in 2018. 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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Comments

  1. Happy New Year, dear Suzanne. May you go with the Flow and know that each moment is enough. Here’s to a rich, peaceful, and expansive year! ❤️

  2. My gosh, Suzanne, you had me almost in tears! How strong you are to have lived all this and still have such a positive outlook!
    I love how you celebrated (you had the courage to do so) Christmas as a family! Your special little touch with the centrepeice in honour of your Dad ‘touched’ my heart so much. xoxo

    • Happy New Year Marge. We did manage to celebrate quite a bit during the holidays and actually since Dad’s passing. It’s helped bring us together as a family, over and over again. As for the rest, well it’s life and it’s about learning to go through it all as best as we humanly can when it shows up. I can’t say that I have that mastered yet. 🙂 <3

  3. Mary Dowdy says:

    Happy New Year,
    Chere cousine Suzanne and family,
    A wonderful reading again from you. I had to wait until we returned back home to Tennessee with peace and quiet to read your blog.
    I love you all so so much.

  4. Oh friend. ( insert huge hug here)
    My heart leaped when I saw the photo of your son this Christmas.
    I know well how much joy this. Grateful:)
    Your year has been one of such intense stretching.
    Like a yoga pose that you can’t possibly hold one second longer
    because the intensity is just too much. I sense such beauty in the making.
    Even though the heat feels harsh. There is coming a respite, I believe.
    Oh I believe. Respite and increased peace…..greater than you’ve ever known.
    Sending love and encouragement to your beautiful heart, Suzanne.
    Peace to your every part,
    Jennifer

  5. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful wishes for my mom and please know that I am thinking of you and yours and sending back the very same. I understand how difficult it has been for you to share the difficulties of the past year. However, please know there are a wealth of folks online who are here ready to offer up support as best they can. Please count me in as one of them. Sending you a jumbo hug.

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