2016, the year everything changed. Last year when it struck midnight, as I kissed my husband, I thought this would be my first full year as his wife, I thought it would be the beginning of so many things for us. Instead this year was the ending of so much.
On March 3 my husband passed away. There were no warning, no goodbyes. You can’t prepare yourself for that kind of life altering event. There’s just no way. My world was blown to pieces and I was left in the rubble to fight my way out.
2016 was anything but easy. I lost so much. This year has tested me in ways I can’t even begin to explain, but I don’t want to focus on all the things I’ve lost in 2016. You see my husband always told me that I was the positive one, the one who believed in the good in people (almost to a fault) and believed things would always work out. I don’t want to disappoint him. It would be easy for me to lose that person because all of this, and I’m not saying I don’t struggle because I do, but I don’t want to lose that part of me. Those are some of the reasons he fell in love with me and I’m going to try my hardest to keep being that kind of person.
So here goes…things I gained in 2016.
1. Resilience. Gaining resilience is a great thing. It built within me strength and confidence that I can continue forward no matter what obstacles are thrown at me. Being resilient doesn’t mean I’m strong all the time, it just means I’m a fighter, I will get back up when knocked down and never give up. It will help me tackle new challenges in my life as well as face future failures and/or losses.
2. Empathy. I’ll admit I already possessed this before I lost my husband but there is something that changes when you go through a loss such as mine, such a deeper understanding and empathy towards people struggling with grief, or struggling with anything for that matter. I hope that through my life I will be able to be an ear for people who need it, a shoulder for those who need to cry and a person who always shows love and understanding to those in need.
3. Faith. I was raised in church. I always believed in our Lord. I knew to pray and to trust in Him. That being said, nothing had tested my faith like this. I chose to move closer to God instead of push Him away like many do during hardships. It’s easy to blame Him, get mad at Him, not understand His plan…believe me, I know. It’s not always easy to have faith when you feel so much was taken from you. I can’t understand, I don’t think I’ll ever understand until I’m standing in front of our Lord one day. I still have to live life, I still have to move forward and for me the only way I can do that is with Him. His grace. I can’t carry this all on my own. The grief, the let-downs, the sadness, the anger, the disappointment, the anxiety…I need to hand over some of that to Him or it eats me alive. I’m thankful that through my horrible loss I have a stronger relationship with God.
Now I know many people make New Years resolutions but I want to challenge you to do something different. Make weekly goals, or even daily. Don’t set goals that seem almost unattainable. If you set smaller goals as you go, you feel as though you accomplished something and you are more likely to keep moving forward. The thing with New Years resolutions is that I think people end up disappointed in themselves if they didn’t achieve the goal they set, but guess what? You can still choose to wake up tomorrow and set a daily goal for yourself, no matter how big or small it may be. There is also something very important to remember: You aren’t guaranteed this year, this month, this week. Live for today! For me, I look back and I know that 2016 will forever be marked as the year I lost my love, my partner, my soulmate, my best friend, the worst year of my life…but somehow I survived, I’m sure it was by the grace of God. Sometimes my daily goal was just to do that: simply survive it. It’s not over for me yet (it’ll never really be “over”) because after the ball drops tonight and it’s 2017, I’ll still need to choose to survive, to move forward. It will not be easy. I will continue to just take it a day at a time, one prayer at a time.
Our kiss at midnight last year ❤️