2018 has been a turbulent year – one filled with heartache and sorrow but of course, also filled with excitement and joy.
At exactly this time last year, we were just discovering that my mother in law was very sick and that the prognosis was dire. The days blurred together as we reconciled with the future and did our best to ensure that the moments we were sharing with her, were as full and memorable as possible.
It was a difficult Christmas, knowing that every memory would be a final memory.
Early in 2018, we lost my mother in law and the days and months that followed were a roller coaster of emotions. One moment we were crying because we missed her, and the next moment we were laughing as we recalled a funny situation. Up and down we went until now, where we find ourselves treading somewhat comfortably in the deep water of each day.
There are no roadmaps when dealing with grief. There are no magic pills you can swallow to make everything better again. It is a work in progress where we step one foot in front of the other until we feel confident enough in our emotions to begin to take the occasional light-hearted skip.
When I take that light-hearted skip, it is invariably with one of my grandchildren.
Babies and grandchildren are an elixir for grief. My husband and I are fortunate to have three grandbabies with the youngest being born just this past November. They truly make a difference to how we heal from heartache. The other day, my oldest Grandson Dylan pointed at a photo of my mother in law on the fridge and said, “Great Grandma!”. For a moment my heart did a sad little leap, but then I smiled because Dylan has tucked his Great Grandmother into his memory and will not forget her regardless of the fact that he is only 3 years old.
I am not certain what 2019 will bring to our family or our community. My hope is that we will experience joy and fulfillment, but I know that there always is a chance for heartache and tribulations. It is how we manage those gaps that define us as a family and as a community.
If 2018 has taught me nothing else, it is the knowledge that we can weather any storm together – our families and communities are strong and bound together with a common love, empathy and compassion for one another.
Happy New Year!
Judy Kucharuk is a lover of sarcasm, witty people and footnotes. You can read her book “Naked Tuesday” or catch her on CBC Radio Daybreak North where she shares her “Peace of Mind”. Follow her on twitter @judylaine