It’s not fair to say that 2022 has been completely horrible. Don’t get me wrong, it was really horrible in a lot of ways. But when I look at all the joyful moments, I can’t help but think that it’s been a good year despite the horribleness.
Regardless, however, it’s time to say goodbye. Goodbye to the good things (that I hope to carry forward into 2023) and goodbye to the horrible things (some of which will impact my life in 2023 and beyond).
As much as I’d like to, I can’t simply focus on the good from 2022 and move on. Instead, I feel I must start this post by recalling the Big Horrible Thing because it is all part of this crazy thing I call life and I know it will impact my life as I move forward.
That Big Horrible Thing is that my wonderful mother, Barbara, died on 24 January 2022 after a brief (known) illness. I was with her when she took her last breaths, and I cried. I marked her birthday and Mother’s Day without her, and I cried. I co-recited the Rosary at her funeral, and I cried.
There was a definite shadow of sadness cast over the year because of the loss of my Mum, but there were still so many happy things. And that’s what I will reflect on below.
Happy reflections of 2022
January: Oh, what a horrible month! But there were moments of pure laughter and enjoyment with Mum before she died – including a laughter-filled conversation about the “fucking flu”. (You had to be there.) I also spent a lot of time with Dad, in between a period of plague isolation and a little road trip across/around Washington State. (Both of which were unplanned, but lemonade from lemons, and all that.)
February: The month started with a little celebration for the Year of the Tiger and ended with birthday blessings. It was a hard month as I returned to Scotland in between the two celebrations and tried to wrap my head around the sadness of the weeks and months before.
March: I spent March catching up on my running and walking goals – and writing postcards to honour my mother. It was a long month, but I found my way through and began to refocus my routines by the end of it.
April: I managed a lot of really good walks this month, including ones to remember my late husband and to mark my mother’s birthday. I also began my “rebel badge” adventure to motivate myself to try new things.
May: The month began with a long Pentland Hills hike to mark Mother’s Day and ended with a return to America for my summer holidays. In between, I collected a few geocaches and tried to improve my 5-mile running times.
June: The month had a sad start with Mum’s funeral, but there was a little comfort in the ceremony of it all. There were also some really good fun and positive activities like battling a rosebush and enjoying a little road trip with Dad. I also hit my geocache goal in June. Yay!
July: I spent 4th of July at my sister’s house where I achieved a great new (unexpected) personal best time for my 4-mile distance. I also finished up a load of chores for Dad, including painting in the living room. The sad part of July, however, was returning home to Scotland.
August: What a busy month! At the start of August, I enjoyed a big (record-breaking) geocaching day out with a friend. Then my dear “DIA” friend, Sarah, came to visit (our first in-person meeting, despite knowing each other for almost 20 years!). And to cap it off, I took a train and went to a concert for the first time since this crazy pandemic began.
September: I started September with a weekend away to the Northumberland coast with a friend. It was a last chance for a restful weekend before the new teaching term began, and it was very much needed. Sadly, September also brought the sad death of my dear friend, Suzie Q. Her loss will leave a hole in my heart forever.
October: This was a slow month, compared to the busyness of the two before. Most of my time was devoted to work stuff – but also to drying fruits from the trees around my cottage. And that, of course, made me think of my Mum which is always nice.
November: I spent a lot of time this month crocheting a blanket for Dad out of wool that I inherited from Mum over the summer. I also managed an “accidental” half-marathon run into the Pentlands along with a couple of intentional walks. But mostly, I was busy teaching, working, and preparing for my winter holidays in The Homeland.
December: I returned to The Homeland for the Christmas holidays again and then spent the rest of December running and spending time with Dad. There was a load of snow shovelling to be done and a few other little chores around the house, too. Importantly, there was loads of good food, prepared by Dad and enjoyed by me.
As I prepare to enter 2023, I find myself holding my breath just a little bit. I am looking to the new year with hope for a positive year whilst bracing myself for disappointment. But still, I am confident that 2023 will be filled with joyful things – from fleeting moments to outstanding achievements. And I will focus on those as I make my way to 2024.