What to say about this past year. It has been so many things, but, the one theme that played out throughout 2016 was STRESS. This was the year our daughter graduated high school and went away to college. That was a HUGE shift for our family. There was a lot of stress surrounding her decision on which school to choose. I’ve worried constantly about money and still do. Then, she experienced two evacuations and 2 lockdowns at school, and the week before she came home for winter break, she was at the mall the same night there was a stabbing there. Good grief, we did not need all those extra worries heaped on to the normal worries parents have when they send their daughter off to college. In the end though, this year has been a positive one for Liv. She had a fantastic senior year of high school. She has a wonderful group of friends that she is having a blast with. And, she got over the bumps and trials of her first semester away at school and is happy there. She has made friends, goes to parties every weekend, and loves her school. She chose well. This college is a great fit for her and close enough (about 70 miles) that Tim and I can go down for football games and such. OH, and she made the dean’s list! Woot woot!  Now, I just gotta hope we can afford to keep her there for 4 years. UGH!!!

The other major stressful thing was being told that Tim has to begin chemo treatment again. We originally thought it would begin in the fall, as soon as we got Liv off to school, but, he has been able to stall a bit and get through the holidays. I have so many feelings (read-fears) about what this will and could mean for us. Will he be able to keep working? How and when do we tell Liv? Will the drugs work? I worried myself into a tizzy this year but had to finally learn to let go and wait and see what happens. You simply cannot prepare for what you don’t know. Lord knows, I’ve spun my wheels trying many times in my life. I sure wish that money was not such a huge concern. I’ve said this before, it really sucks that it has to take such center stage when I wish I could just concentrate on keeping him well and helping him live his best life. Our long-time employee embarked on a new career in February. It was a blessing for all of us really, and we found a young guy (actually, he found us) who has worked out well, but, there are still worries in that department for sure. I wish Tim did not have to work so hard and worry about money and his business too.

My sister, and best friend, has had the most awful year. Both her kids have health issues and her son was literally sick for the first 6 months of this year. He required 2 hospitalizations and surgery on his sinuses and nasal passages. My sister was as close to a nervous breakdown as I’ve ever seen her. Other really tough things are going on in her life too, and then, a week before Christmas, I get a text when I turn my cell phone on. She had to rush her 14 year old daughter to the hospital at 3:30 am, in the middle of a snow storm. Her husband was pulling a night shift so she had to drop her son off at a friend’s house on the way and my niece was yelling in pain and vomiting all the way to the hospital. They thought it was her appendix, but, instead, it was a grapefruit sized ovarian cyst that had twisted 4 times. Before they knew exactly what it was, they were using words like tumor, mass, and oncologist. Needless to say, my sis was beside herself. The gyn’s at that hospital wouldn’t touch her because of her age so they threw them in an ambulance and took them to the same children’s hospital my nephew had been in. Tim and I raced there to meet them. My niece had had 3 doses of IV Zofran before she stopped throwing up. Non narcotic pain meds did nothing. They then gave her 2 doses of Morphine and wound up needing to use a Dilaudid drip on her. She needed 3 hours of emergency surgery, which ended at midnight, and lost one fallopian tube. To say my sister’s year has been a nightmare is an understatement. She can’t wait until 2016 is ushered out the door.

So, as much as I can say 2016 was hard, in my position, I have a hard time looking forward to 2017. I am trying, I really am, to stay positive. My daughter’s happiness is the one bright spot in my life and helps a lot. But, Tim’s going back on treatment will be hard to manage, there’s no doubt about it. My sister’s situation causes me a lot of worry too. Thankfully, my dad’s retirement package finally came through so he will stop working in February. It was a long time coming and my mom’s memory continues to worsen so he needs to be home with her. Getting older is not for sissies, that’s for sure. Life gets harder and harder.

2016 has been a tough year for Tim. He hated seeing Liv graduate and move on from her high school years. I was thrilled we made it through. He is still sad that era is over. Finding out he has to go back on treatment is a huge blow too. His friend dying suddenly of a heart attack 3 months ago really sent him into a spin. It’s always the good people that have the rotten things happen to them. Tim was really feeling discouraged after Ron died. Seeing his 4 kids mourn him really hit home for Tim. 5 years ago, another friend of his died, leaving 3 sons to mourn him. It’s impossible not to think about our own situation when these things happen.

So, today, we kick 2016 out the door and pray that 2017 will be kind to us. What else can we do? Time passes and life changes whether we want it to or not. I gotta try to take it a day at a time, a constant struggle. I hope that enough good things happen to help us cope with the bad and keep our chins up. Hope is such a strong word. Without it, well, I suppose depression and giving up are the only possibilities. I’ve been in many funks in my life, mostly due to health issues and disappointments. And, I suppose it’s HOPE that has brought me through. Hope that the hard times will pass and there are joyful times to come.

Wishing you all a healthy and happy 2017. Here’s to HOPE ! Know it, feel it, heck, cling onto it as hard as you can.