Reflecting on a Year of Loss, Inspiration, and Hope ~ 2018

When another year draws to an end, as 2018 is on the threshold of, I look back on each experience with gratitude and forward with hope and anticipation. This year is no exception, as I reflect upon all the blessings that we were given, one of the most significant our incredible trip to Patagonia earlier this spring, a journey into a rugged world I had dreamed of exploring for decades. I am truly grateful that we continue to be healthy enough to embark on these trips and am hopeful that we have many more in our future.

Hope, like a candle burning in the darkness

As I sat watching CBS News Sunday Morning earlier today, and the depth and breath of the many public figures who left us this year scrolled across the screen, I found myself reflecting back upon the considerable number of people we have said farewell to in our small community where we winter – 16 according to my count. This does not include the number of family members we have lost this year, whose numbers also seem to be higher than the norm. Extending beyond that, there are several in our community who are dealing with chronic health issues as I write this post – a remarkable woman (and friend) who continues to fight back from a serious illness early this year, a new-found friend with a chronic health issue who is awaiting a much-anticipated life-changing call, a long-time friend who recently was taken aback when a somewhat common medical procedure resulted in something much more serious, a childhood friend’s baby brother who left a wife and family much too soon, a blogging friend who lost a lifelong companion, just to name a few.

Whenever someone passes who has touched my heart or a friend is dealing with a challenging health issue, I find it a gentle nudge to not squander any of these precious days we have remaining. But this year (perhaps it is the sheer number of deaths we have heard of this year) has me moving beyond that less than subtle reminder, reflecting instead on the courage and the grace I have witnessed time and again, both with those who faced their own mortality, those who were left with the gaping hole these beautiful souls left behind, and those who have persisted mightily in their quest to regain their health. I am continually inspired by these remarkable individuals who have touched my life, those who have shared some of their more “real” moments with me.

My sincere hope is that we all find a path forward that allows us to embrace each day, amidst the trials, and that this path provides us with intense moments of happiness, many beautiful experiences that create wonderful memories, plenty of reason for laughter, and an abundance of love. For those who are struggling with the loss of a loved one, may your memories soften your grief, and for those dealing with chronic illness, may each day bring new healing.

Here’s to a new year filled with moments of deep gratitude.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”  ~  Denis Waitley

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