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

Photo courtesy of http://www.sacompassion.net

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

  • Experiencing health challenges, whether our own or those of dear friends and family, is deeply painful. And as you said, it’s also a call to live life even more fully. How lucky we are to have the opportunity to be in this world, imperfect though it may be. Here’s to living with awareness, compassion, gratitude, and generosity of spirit. Much love to you and Terry in this coming year! Laurel & Eric

  • Wonderful post, Lu, but your final paragraph was so beautifully written. Wishing you and Terry a happy, healthy New Year. Hopefully, we can connect while we are in Borrego Springs. We arrive Wed for the month. When do you return to Jojoba?

  • A heartwarming and thoughtful post, Luann. Every day is a new day, and gratitude is the biggest word. 2018 is now behind us and we wish you and Terry continued good health to enjoy all fun travels and adventures ahead.
    Cheers and have a great new year!

    • Thanks MonaLiza! It has been a challenging year for so many, but still lots to be grateful for. We hope that 2019 finds you both in top health, ready to explore new areas and create lots of memories. Happy New Year!

  • Such a poignant reminder that each day is precious. I’m sorry to hear of so much loss in your life. Big hugs and very best wishes for good health and happiness overflowing in 2019.

    • Although this has been a challenging year for so many that we know, there have also been many moments to be grateful for. Hope you and Dave have lots of grand adventures in the new year, with lots of laughter sprinkled in. Hugs!

    • You are so sweet Lisa. We too are hoping that our country finds a way to work together again, for the good of its citizens. Is that too lofty a goal to wish for? Happy New Year to you and Hans. Enjoy that lovely new home and create some beautiful memories!

  • I have a good friend that just entered hospice. What a wonderful, Christian man. You have encouraged me to reflect on Doug’s life, and the amazing person he is. In 2019, it is my prayer to embrace at least one of his many many positive qualities.
    I wish I could write at least 10% as you my dear friend. You have been blessed with a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing it with us. Happy new year to you both. Love and God’s blessings.

    • You are too kind my dear friend. We have had two friends enter into hospice this year. Thank God for that wonderful, caring organization. I pray that 2019 is kinder to us all. May 2019 find you both in good health, creating lots of beautiful memories with that lovely grand baby. Big hugs coming your way Marsha!

  • Thank you, LuAnn, for sharing your reflections on 2018 and the Denis Waitley quote with us. A new year awaits! Wishing you and Terry a happy and healthy New Year full of fun adventures.

  • Such a lovely reflection of those you’ve not only loved and lost but also a celebration of how they touched your life. Thank you for sharing the Denis Waitley quote as remembering to feel gratitude for knowing those we’ve lost makes it easier to cope with the sadness. I’m looking forward to watching how 2019 unfolds and and wishing you and Terry a year filled with much more joy than sorrow. Anita

    • Thank you Anita. I pray that the new year provides you with many moments of happiness and that beautiful memories embrace you with comfort. Looking forward to meeting you in 2019. Hugs

  • A very poignant, beautiful, heart-felt post, LuAnn. I am also touched and inspired by the courage and grace I have witnessed. Our precious gift of time is priceless. I love the quote at the end. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  • Well said, LuAnn! I have a feeling that 2018 was a pretty bad year for many people, based on blog posts and personal stories. In our world, a lot of loved ones have suffered or are suffering from life-threatening diseases at young ages. And so many have passed in the lives of our friends. In 2018, we were spared of any loved family members leaving us. hopefully that will last through 2019 as well. I think the increased number of deaths and cancer victims around us has to do with us getting older and the environmental impact on this planet. Let’s all try to do our best to respect and appreciate Mother Nature and do all we can to help!

    Happy New Year to you both and may we always remember loved ones, strong souls and the fact that we only live once and should pursue happiness!

    • Beautifully said Leisbet! Each day is a precious gift, one to not squander. This planet is our only home, one to not destroy with our disregard. Here’s to a new year of enlightenment for us all!

  • Beautifully written, LuAnn. I’m sorry for the losses you’ve experienced this year. I love your commitment to living every day with gratitude. Wishing you health and happiness in 2019!

  • Thanks LuAnn, for the heartfelt reflections and hopeful wishes for 2019. I am grateful to have found you in this blogging community. Life is uncertain, but it our family, faith, and friends that ground us and give us peace.

  • I am so grateful for your sincere thoughts and comments, LuAnn, especially these. I hope we can get together soon.

  • LuAnn, I am a bit late to this post, but better late than never. Wishing you a wonderful 2019. Healthy, happy and full of adventures.

    Your post is heartwarming and a reminder that life can change in an instant. We just had a distant relative staying with us (actually a relative of my ex husbands) a 26 year old who stayed a week and on the last night got the shocking call that his brother had died tragically in a skiing accident. His life changed in a second!

    Such a beautifully heartfelt written post.

    Peta

    • Thank you Peta. And yes, these tragedies, whether in our families or to those near to us, are stark reminders that life is precious and fleeting.

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