If 2016 taught me nothing else, it has taught me that life is a definite roller coaster ride. Sometimes the climb up seems too steep that you really want to get off. Other times it’s so smooth and even, you want the ride to go on forever.
My 2016 started out with our sweet dog of 14.5 years, Woody, having a stroke on New Years Day. We had to make the difficult decision to say goodbye to him the next day. As anyone out there who has ever loved, and said goodbye, to a pet knows, it was one of the hardest experiences our family had gone through, ever. Little did we know at the time, harder times were coming. We climbed that roller coaster hill together and made it to the top.
Then our son gave us the wonderful news that he was proposing to his high school sweetheart. She said yes, and the planning began for a wedding in June 2017. Good, 2016 was looking up. We zoomed down the roller coaster hill into summer and just when things were leveling off, we were faced with another hill to climb.
My mom called with the news that my aunt, her baby sister, had tragically died in a car accident. If you’ve been following my blog, I paid tribute to my Aunt Jetta in my July post, “Don’t Ignore God’s Nudge.” Once again we were faced with saying goodbye to a loved one taken too soon. To be honest, we’re still reeling from that one. But we climbed that hill one more time and made it to the top.
The first week in September we were looking forward to our summer vacation with our kids. As we all met at our house the night before we were to leave, our daughter and son-in-law gave us the wonderful news that we were going to be grandparents for the first time! What an emotional high going into a wonderful, relaxing vacation at the beach! That rollercoaster seemed to be leveling off again.
Then the first weekend in October my mom called to say she had made the difficult decision to put my father in hospice care, after taking care of him for 8 years at home. He had Alzheimer’s. I chronicled their relationship in my blog, “God’s Unconditional Love Is on Display Every Day.” I went to be with her to get everything set up at home, and then we traveled back there two weeks later for his memorial service. That roller coaster hill took almost a month to climb. But we made it.
In November and December, while our entire country was on a more public roller coaster, luckily my personal one leveled off. We spent time with family and friends, and just enjoying being together. I also met one of my goals by finishing my manuscript for my first novel. Stay tuned for more info on a release date in the spring. By December 31, I think everyone was breathing a collective sigh of relief that the year was over.
But, as 2017 begins, our family and friends have been hit with another loss. A young man who grew up with my son, tragically lost his life in the early hours of New Years Day. My heart breaks for his family as they must start the new year on their own personal roller coaster. There are no words. I will leave at that.
In 2017, my own family will be experiencing new birth and a wedding blending two families for life. My hope for each of you out there is that your roller coaster is more of a kiddie ride, just some gentle rollers, and not a full blown heart-stopping freefall. God bless each and every one of you, and I am so grateful you are interested in what I have to say.