I cannot lie. This has been a difficult year in many ways.
For starters, I quit anesthetising and got stone-cold sober. And that was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life, because once I stopped numbing, all those emotions I had tried so hard to escape for so many years came flooding in like a tsunami. Maybe it’s different for everyone, but that’s how it was for me. I had a lot of feelings about a lot of things and, suddenly, no way to avoid them. I had to stop running away from my demons and start to face them. I’m still working on that.
Then, I lost my closest friend of twenty-five years to cancer. My heart is still broken, and, to be frank, I’m not sure the wound will ever fully heal. But that’s okay. Glennon Doyle says, “Grief is love’s souvenir. It is our proof that we once loved. Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world: Look! Love was once mine. I love well. Here is my proof that I paid the price.”
Well, I paid that price, and I’d pay it again and again given the choice. Because, as difficult as it was to say goodbye to Cameron, I wouldn’t trade one second of the time we had together for anything. The grief I carry is my souvenir of the love we shared.
There were other things, too, of course. Other ways I found this year to be really tough. But I’m not here to talk about all the things that went wrong or caused me countless sleepless nights. In fact, just the opposite.
I’m writing because, despite all the pain and heartache, fear and frustration, there is still much I’ve got to be grateful for. And so, without further ado, here is my list of blessings for 2017:
- Love given and received.
- Four healthy, happy, well-adjusted children, who love and accept me as I am: eldest, my firstborn son, a gentle giant, who is respectful, smart as a whip, and kind to everyone; middle son, who reminds me so much of me at his age, and always has some interesting tidbit to share; youngest son, who is honest and authentic, funny as hell, and always up for trying new things; and my daughter, a little spitfire, who is deeply sensitive, intuitive, and wise beyond her years.
- Shelter, food, clean water, electricity… all those things taken for granted that not everybody has.
- My mom and dad and family and friends-like-family.
- Alaska, Story, and George, my goofy pets.
- The opportunity to thank my beloved, Cameron, for a lifetime of true friendship before he passed away from leukaemia in the spring (God, I miss you, kindred).
- Every moment Cam and I spent together. And there have been many.
- Visiting with old friends at Cameron’s memorial/Celebration of Life.
- All the new friends I’ve made this year through my recovery program, who inspire, encourage, and uplift me on a regular basis, and help me to stay sober.
- Online friends who, although we’ve yet to meet in person, always have kind words, gentle wisdom, humour, love, and support to offer when I need it most.
- Writing (has saved me more times than I can count).
- Sunset walks at the beach.
- Counting stars on clear nights.
- Morning runs under blue skies.
- Spring rain, bright summer sunshine, fiery autumn leaves, and the snow of winter’s wonderland.
- A few good laughs.
- Other sexual abuse survivors, who share their stories and work hard to shine a bright light in the darkest of all dark places, which makes me feel less alone. Every single #metoo matters.
- Solitude—because being alone is balm for the soul.
- Companionship—because being together is soul food.
- Flashes of inspiration.
- Hot baths: essential oils, flower petals, and crystals.
- Cleansing tears.
- Difficult people who challenge me (even though I don’t always feel grateful at the time).
- Great books.
- Being alone without being lonely.
- Perspectacles (perspective).
- Change and transformation because, while it’s often uncomfortable, there are always blessings.
- My cousin’s safety while in the Dominican Republic during Hurricane Irma.
- Renewed faith and a deeper connection to Spirit, the Soul of the Universe, God.
- The gifts of acceptance/surrender.
- A family trip gifted by my parents.
- Synchronicity (meaningful coincidences).
- Serendipity (making fortunate discoveries by accident).
- One extraordinary essay written by my dear friend, Laura Parrot Perry, which ended up being the catalyst for a major transformation in my life.
- A set of gorgeous collages by Canadian writer, Diane Schoemperlen, that found their way to me.
- Courage in the face of the Unknown.
- Wisdom gleaned in hindsight.
- Divine intervention.
- Lessons in radical self-care.
- Progress (not perfection).
- Time alone at the end of this year to reflect and write a Gratitude List.
I hope that wherever today, the last day of 2017, finds you, you find a little time to reflect on the abundance in your own life and what you are most thankful for.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018, friends!
All Good Things,