Yes, of course, good things happened for each and every one of us along the way, but those things were overshadowed by the daily journey we walked with our dad this year, watching him slip away from us little by little.
2017 was a year of questioning.
- It was a year of heartbreak.
- It was a year of resurged optimism that THIS time we could beat that same repugnant disease that had stolen our mom from us only 4 years prior.
- It was a year of fighting and pushing forward.
- It was a year of learning things about home health care and feeding tubes and medicines that I never dreamed I would have to know.
- It was a year of experiencing the amazing gift that Hospice offers to families like ours.
- It was a year of tough conversations that no kids should ever have to have with their parent.
- It was a year of verbally releasing our dad from his fight so that he could go and join our mom in heaven.
But more than anything 2017 was a year for our Tribe of 9 to grow into a UNIT OF ONE. We had to. It became necessary the closer to death that he got. It was a choice of either bind tighter together or lose what little family we had left. And as I am writing this post on December 28th, I can assure you....all 9 of us chose to BIND.
We are not perfect and some days, lord, we drive each other crazy, but the 9 of us recognize that FAMILY comes first, above ALL else.
And now, just a little more than 2 months since Dad was taken from us, I sit here, at my sister's house in Crested Butte CO and realize that we've done exactly what we set out to do as he passed away from us on October 19th.
During these last 2 1/2 months, our Tribe of 9 has been under the same roof so many times-- from dad's funeral to packing up his estate to Thanksgiving to Jess' graduation from Sam Houston State University and now Christmas.
We have CHOSEN that although cancer has robbed us of both of our parents in the last 4 years, it will not rob us of the chance for our tribe to come together every time we possibly can. And as the oldest one left in our family, it is my responsibility to make sure that we don't forget that.
2017 might have sucked the life out of us again and again, but I am pushing forward to 2018 determined to push the Shawshank adage of GET BUSY LIVING back into us....and even more so, back into myself.
Was Christmas hard without Dad here?
Hell yes, it was.
Have we all had moments when we just wanted to quit and crawl into bed so we could wallow in the loss that has become ours recently? Oh my god, yes.
Have we questioned the grand plan of life and why this awfulness has besieged our little family AGAIN? You better believe it.
But through it all, our tribe persists.
We love each other fiercely.
We protect each other without fail.
And we commit that 2018 is going to look far different than 2017 did.
One foot in front of the other.
One breath at a time.
And cherishing each moment as the next comes our way.
Life...or perhaps the universe...or maybe some great cosmic power that is running this show...all attempted to knock us down in 2017, but that time is over.
9 separate individuals cannot do much on their own, but 9 bound together as 1 is almost unbreakable.
So as we Henry David Thoreau our way into 2018, we determine that It. Will. Get. Better.
In fact, I believe we aren't due for it to just be better.
We are overdue for some abso-fucking-awesomeness in our lives now.
The suffering is done. The living starts now.