Sunday, December 31, 2006

Goodbye to 2006

Today is the last day of the year.
Today I bear absolutely no resemblance to the woman who started the year. None what so ever. On the surface I may appear the same, but there is not a single part of me that has not been altered in one way or another. You know, for years I have ended the year saying "Thank heavens that is over. Next year cannot be as difficult / bad / challenging etc etc". I have posted about this before, and about how my daughter pulled me up short and said that bad things will always happen, and that it is how we respond to them that is the point. Wise child.

Last year, though, my prayer was simply that no matter what life threw at me, I wanted to retain the ability to smile, and to find something to laugh about. Such a simple wish. I thought. 2006 has been a doozie. A mega-doozie. And there have been times when even smiling has required herculean efforts. My head has been exploding. And I have learnt that just getting through one day at a time is the only possible way to do it. It is not all about me, and it never has been. It is about all the people who surround me, who love me, about the strength of my family, and the strength of my faith.

None of us are islands. We all live in community. With family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and even strangers. We are supposed to be accountable. We are supposed to be there for the hard times and the good. For the tears and the laughter. For the memories and the disasters. The unthinkable does happen, and it is how we cope with it that counts. I have learned things I would rather not have had to learn. I have discovered things that have hurt me. I have watched as some take a step towards you and some take a step away. I know what a feeling of isolation is like. I have learnt more about fear and anger and frustration, and alone-ness, and responsibility, and worry and pain and guilt than I thought anyone should know. And I have learned more too about love and empathy and determination and sacrifice and faith.

I have watched my three wonderful children grow up over night. I have seen the gentling of their spirit, and the maturity and acceptance of responsibility that loss brings. I have heard them say the words that sometimes we forget to say. I have seen them step up and stand alongside me. How great a gift is that. I am very blessed. And I have made the time to walk with them, talk with them and listen to them that perhaps might not have happened as much before.

I have learned to stifle impatience, and strive for grace and dignity. I have learned that I am not invincible after all, and that trying to do everything is simply not possible. Tears are ok. It is fine to cry. I have leared how hard it is when you have no idea what to do. I have had to learn how to trust. I have learned that sleep is an optional extra at times, and I have learned to say that I need time and space for myself without feeling guilty. I have also learned that my brain's capacity for learning is just fine. I know more about cardiothoracic medicine than any layman should know.

After 31 years as a stay at home Mum with 3 children, and a mother to look after, I have learned that I can get a full time job, and do it well. I am enough. Good enough. I can adapt. I can change. I can learn. Isn't that what life is all about? Change, growth and development? What I want and what I need are two separate things. I have what I need. What I really want is irrelevant. For 6 months, we have lived largely on faith. God has been good. Amazingly good. Maybe I needed to be tossed out of the boat, so that I would have to walk on the water in faith.

So how do I sum up 2006? A year of shock, sadness, pain and loss? Or a year of astounding growth and change? A year of memories and reflection? A year of financial chaos? A year of hope or bewilderment? A year that marked a turning point in all our lives? A year of development and discovery? All of them apply. Maybe to describe 2006 as a seismic year in my family's life would be most accurate.

On the 7th January, it will be just 6 months since Geoff died. 6 months is just 24 weeks really. Weeks. Just weeks. Heaven knows when the inquest will be and there is so much still to be sorted. My family is scattered across the world, and so, of course, is my heart. But I am looking back, and I am smiling, because we are creeping forwards, not marking time, not going backwards. I am proud of me. I am proud of my children. I think Geoff would be too. I have the most amazing sister in the world, and a Mum who is like a rock. I am eternally thankful for a loving community of friends and family who have made absolutely certain that we are not alone.

So here I am. A little battered and bashed. But my eyes are not on the mountains ahead, but on the God who loves me just as I am, and whose faith in me and plans for me are unlimited. And who makes those mountains just disappear. I am blessed.


momrn2 said...

Beautifully written!

Rejoicing with you that we can choose to have our eyes on the God who loves us and not on the mountains ahead!!

What hope that brings to face a new year of uncertainties!

Amy said...

I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me! Sometimes I take it one day at a time, others one moment at a time.

Thank you for stopping by. This is my very first time here so I have a lot of reading to do!

I do hope 2007 brings new adventures and many blessings!

In Him, Amy

Barb said...

You've had a very rough year, Linds, but your strength shines through. One day at a time is the only thing that works sometimes.

I hope the new year is full of blessings for you and your children.

Morning Glory said...

Oh, Linds, this is so beautiful! You left me with a huge lump in my throat and tears that threaten to flow. But I also found myself swelling with pride on your behalf because of all you have been through and the strength that radiates from your writing. I wish I knew you in person. I know I would love you.

I can't even begin to imagine what you have lost, but I can relate to what you say about the presense of God and the ways in which He lifts and leads you. The beauty of His presense for me is that when I am going through the valleys, He goes with me through them. He doesn't send me down there alone and then just meet me on the other side. He walks beside me. He obviously has walked beside you this year.

Blessings on you, Friend. I'm glad we found each other's blogs. Happy New Year to you and yours!

Anonymous said...


Keep up the writing and much love to you & the kids


Anonymous said...

A truly touching post. True happiness is "wanting what you have" and I think you're doing a dang fine job of achieving that.

You're an inspiration. Your attitude. Your outlook. Your heart. You.