2011 was the worst year of my life… but I think much of that was my own doing.
Yes, the year was tough financially and emotionally and there were plenty of hard decisions that had to be made, but somehow I managed to make most of the correct ones and get my family through.
I feel like I lost my two closest friends last year and it made me very bitter and angry. And then I let those dark emotions rule me, and I spiraled into an ever deepening pit of my own creation.
Late last summer my 12 year old dog Connor disappeared. He ran away from my wife–which he never did–and simply vanished. Every day for weeks we searched, and I was in contact with every animal shelter in Southern Idaho to no avail. He just vanished and is presumed dead.
Connor was my rock. For 12 years he was always there to listen and give high fives. Now he’s gone. I don’t have any closure, and I don’t know what happened to him. He deserved better than whatever fate befell him, and I still miss him terribly.
I lost my wife emotionally. My wife suffers from extreme migraines, seizures, and narcolepsy. When she gets sick, she just shuts down. And because of the type of narcolepsy she has, she can sleep for weeks at a time. This has been an incredible strain on me and the family, and not to mention her. I really only got to see my wife about five or six times last year. I see her every day, physically, but the woman I married, the Natalie I love, doesn’t show up very often.
It’s not her fault, and I know she would change all of it in a heartbeat, but it leaves me feeling abandoned. I don’t have a partner most of the time so I feel like a single parent to our 3 year old son Jack, and her 12 year old son. I do it all myself while she sleeps in the next room or smokes all of my cigarettes.
I’m angry. She’s hurting and wants a hug… well what about me? I was up all night because she was hallucinating because of the pain medications, got up and took Jack to one of the Grandmas for babysitting–and he doesn’t want to go, his toys are at home, his mommy is at home, his world is there… but he has to leave because mommy can’t stay awake–then I work all day at a job that barely pays the bills and is becoming more and more tedious by the day, pick up Jack, run errands, cook dinner, clean the house, and then fall in to bed to do it all again.
It’s killing me.
But I’m allowing my anger, bitterness, and depression to get the best of me. I start my day already expecting the worst and am unsurprised when it delivers.
Last week I was on vacation–my first in three years–and I spent the first three days just cleaning, doing laundry, and catching up on house maintenance because my wife has been sick since November and I didn’t get much done with Christmas. And I was angry. She was sick again and I was doing everything again. On my vacation.
Then it hit me: I just spent an entire week with Jack. We played a lot. Watched his shows. Made food together (who knew a 3 year old could make waffles?). And had the best time. Jack and I had an amazing vacation!
And I felt sad and sorry for Natalie for the first time in a long time. She missed all the fun.
She missed trying to make Sno Cones out of Gummies…
She missed Jack catching a ball perfectly…
She missed making chocolate shakes and adding Whoppers to make it more chocolatey…
She missed playing cupcakes, toast, and pizza apps on the iPad…
She missed a whole week of me and Jack on vacation at our weirdest, and most fun. I don’t want that to happen anymore. Because of this illness she’s missed so much–including Jack’s first steps–I have to find a way to help her.
“I am the change I wish to see in the world.”
Those words were spoken by Gandhi, but they encapsulate my life so eloquently right now. Instead of the bitterness and anger over my life, I need to find a way to make it better and help.
I’ve been defeating myself for a whole year by letting my depression, bitterness, and anger rule my life. That stops now. 2012 will be a better year.
I’m going to make it that way.
Happy New Year!