she is woman.
she is mother, daughter, wife, and sister.
she is a person.
she is strong, smart, and crafty.
she is passionate, courageous, generous.
she is action, emotion, and devotion.
she has hope, beauty, power.
she gives you life.
she gives you respect, love, and gratitude.
she believes in you.
she will nurture you, fight for you.
and she deserves nothing less from you.
I don't know if I ever really wrote about the emotional whirlwind last year was for me. I touched on it here and there, but I kept thinking everything was going to snap back to normal at any time. And I don't think I ever realized how emotionally trying it was until I was mostly through it. I don't know what's suddenly urging me to just write about all of this, but it makes me feel better connected to those of you who read this blog for you to know more about me than what you see on the surface of instagram and this webpage. And honestly, it's probably just a lot to do with my crazy pregnancy hormones.
I'm an incredibly emotional and sensitive person. I hate this about myself. I worry a lot. I let my own emotions and the emotions of those I love weigh heavy on me. And because that sometimes makes me feel weak, I often find myself putting on a brave face and attempting to appear stronger than I am. And because of all of that, I don't really even remember a lot of 2015. My mind and heart were just all over the place.
My mom was really sick last year from Ulcerative Colitis. Like, really sick. Every day was a giant struggle for her and as it trickled down, for our family, too. At the end of 2015, she had a big, risky surgery to correct this and is thankfully on a seemingly solid road to recovery now, but she suffered tremendously for over a year while trying different treatments in hopes of not having to resort to that. I think the crazy amount of medications and infusions were almost just as tough on her body as the disease itself. I know so many of you have been through a parent's sickness or passing (something I'm not even going to attempt to be able to relate to because I cannot imagine the pain). Seeing your parent's quality of life completely and totally escape them... it just hurts. Really badly.
I think we had seven week-long (or more) hospital stays last year. A lot of posts on this blog were written from a hospital chair. I had so much constantly on my mind with worrying about Mom, keeping up with my jobs, learning a new career (real estate), maintaining my friendships and relationships, and trying to take care of myself, too (the gym was great therapy for me). And I promise I'm not searching for pity of any kind, but I just am reflecting on all of this because it has hit me like a ton of bricks how many transitions can take place in life without even knowing it's happening.
When something unfavorable causes your life to change, isn't it funny how you just kind of deal with it and sometimes forget that your life is different than it was before until your emotions calm down and you have time to reflect? You go through the motions. Days run together and you almost tend to forget what it means for everything to all be okay because that's just not your life anymore. You have a new normal. And that's okay because you adjust to it. You find hope and comfort in the good days and just keep going—day by day. You know that Jimmy Buffet line... "If we couldn't laugh, we'd all go insane." Something like that.
I don't think I have ever felt so thankful as the day my mom had her emergency surgery. It was mid November and a new surgeon who is an expert in the surgery she so desperately needed had just started at the hospital that very week. God placed him there to take care of her. And after he finished the operation, he sat my family down and let us know that it was a miracle my mom had lived long enough to have the surgery. He was amazed we hadn't already lost her because her body was shutting down. At a much later followup appointment, my mom thanked this doctor for saving her life and he said, "It was God."
As I'm sitting here typing this and crying through these emotions that I obviously never really worked through... I'm remembering that I meant to write this as a 2015 "end of year reflection." But I never really knew how to put my thoughts into words. And I really still don't. And I definitely don't know if this all has a point that means anything to any of you! But here I am still typing...
This post has a happy ending. And it isn't just about my mom and my being thankful for her road to recovery. I always say to myself, "What you go through, grows you." I've found that it's okay to be vulnerable and to wear your emotions on your sleeve. It's how you handle situations once they arise that matters. You've got to pick yourself up, find the silver lining, and move on. Life is so short and that little fact came at me fast this past year. There's always something to be thankful for—and I am counting my blessings each and every day for a healthy family and a baby soon to join us. And I just wanted to write and let you know how thankful I am for all of you, your emails, comments, and overall support. It goes a lot deeper than that, though. If I didn't have this blog, I wouldn't have been able to be by my mom's side so much last year when it was needed. If I still had my 9-5 job, I would have been a slave to my desk when I was needed elsewhere. God works in mysterious ways. I'm really thankful for this opportunity to share my life with you guys and I thank you for the prayers you've offered up for us when I've casually mentioned it over the last year. And thank you for reading!
// photo is by marni pictures