I have never gotten into the habit of writing regularly in my journal, but I do make it a point to take lots of photographs, print them out and label them, and then place them in a photo album. Those albums come in handy when I’m trying to remember which year we went on a particular vacation, or who was present at one of our family gatherings. All I have to do is leaf through my photo albums until I find the right photo, and voila! I have my answer.
And as 2018 draws to a close, I find myself thinking back over the year and all that happened in it, both the good and the bad. I don’t really need my photo albums to recall the moments that were most significant to me personally, as my mental pictures are still very clear.
I remember the first time I saw my grandson, just moments after his birth, and how perfect he looked and how I fell in love with him so instantly and completely. I remember the hot summer night we spent in the swimming pool at my son’s new house, enjoying a pre-4th of July family dinner and swim party. I remember sharing my 60th birthday dinner with friends I have known for almost every one of those sixty years. I remember answering the door on Halloween night and being greeted by a tiny little penguin who promptly took my hands and waddled his way into our living room with a huge smile on his face.
I also remember gently stroking our beloved dog, Lucy, as she took her last breath. I remember hearing the sad news of the deaths of my sister-in-law’s mother and the mother of a good friend on the same weekend, and how bad I felt that the funerals were hundreds of miles away so that I couldn’t attend both services. I remember how my heart broke when I heard the horrible and tragic news that a dear friend’s beautiful daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly. 2018 was not a year without tragedy and profound sorrow.
Some of my memories are rather bittersweet. I remember the how scared I felt when my grandson had to be hospitalized for RSV when he was only ten months old. But I’ll never forget the sight of my son-in-law singing to his sick little son during a particularly unpleasant procedure, because he knew how much the little guy likes music. Love is expressed in so many ways, and truly is what gets us all through the hard times.
2018 will soon be history, and I know that eventually my memories of most of the year won’t be nearly so vivid. (Good thing I have those photo albums.) But the changes and the events of the past year have definitely left their mark. And all I can hope is that I am just a little bit wiser, a little bit stronger, and most of all, a little kinder than I was twelve short months ago.
Happy New Year, everyone!