Many people probably thing I am ready to give 2013 the boot and move in to a 'better year', but that isn't necessarily how I feel. 2013 was undoubtedly the worst and the best year of my life. So many expectations that never came to fruition, and so many unexpected blessings.
This year, 2013, is the only year that Sawyer knew and the only year he will have ever known. His whole entire, though it short, life was lived in 2013. Moving on to 2014 scares me in a sense. I am not ready for it to be a different year. I am not ready for it to be a year Sawyer was never a part of. I don't want to start saying that my baby died "last year". Although 2013 was literally a living hell, I am not ready to see it go. 2013 is Sawyer's year, and it always will be to me. The year started out, literally within a few days in to January, on the emotional roller coaster we are still currently on today. January 3 was the day we received the news that something was wrong, and it never got better from there.
While it is easy to see all of the bad, because let's face it, there was a lot - I want to focus on the things that this year has given me and be thankful for those. I am going in to 2014 with no expectations, because to be honest I am tired of being disappointed.
1. Sawyer - I could go on and on about Sawyer, but I don't have to do that. Just know anything and everything about this little boy is the best thing that happened this year, and losing him was the worst.
2. My relationship with Christ has taken a positive turn. While it isn't always great, and I still struggle with bitterness, my relationship with Him has given me a new sense of strength and peace.
3. My wonderful husband, Josh. We have experienced more this year together than most will in a lifetime. Our relationship is stronger than most, and for that I am thankful. When God brought us together six years ago, He definitely knew what He was doing.
4. Our new house - it is crazy to think we are actually homeowners. When did I become old enough for this?! I love our house and all the crazy animals that fill it up.
5. My new job as a teacher. This job is a blessing for my heart. The students and other teachers have been such an encouragement to my spirit and I love my job!
6. My family - this year has brought my closer to my immediate family, and Josh's as well, closer than I really thought was ever possible. They haven't made us "forget", instead they help us remember.
7. Friendships - people come and go, and I am thankful for the friends that have stuck it out with us through this year and also the new ones we have made through this journey.
8. My support group - wow, what a blessing. I hate our circumstances but I am so glad to know them all. It is nice to be able to go to a group and just let all your feelings out with no judgment, because they totally understand.
9. GA Christian Mom Group - yet another blessing. Wow, what a great group of ladies! They have surrounded me with love and support and prayers throughout this whole year and I couldn't be more thankful. They all mean more to me than I have probably ever told them.
10. Our (second) dog, Boone! When we got married we adopted our first dog, Dixie. She is a Australian Shepherd/Husky mix and crazy as ever! When Sawyer passed away we went to the shelter to just "look" and saw a brindle colored Shepherd/Lab mix that was almost out of time. He was so sweet we just couldn't leave without him - and he is the most well-behaved dog!
11. Charleston - this place has brought us more peace, comfort, and relaxation than we ever thought possible. We went to Charleston after Sawyer passed away, and are ringing in the New Year there as well.
12. Church family - our church family has been a support and we couldn't be more thankful for that.
13. Children's Healthcare of Atlanta - the doctors and nurses here fought just as hard as we could have wanted them to in order to save Sawyer's life. I am thankful for all of them and their dedication to not only Sawyer, but all of the babies and children at the hospital.
14. Doctors - all of them; My doctors and Sawyers doctors. Dr. Pohl, Dr. Videlfsky, the doctors at Maternal-Fetal specialists, the surgeons; Dr. Alsoufi, Dr. Kanter, and Dr. Kogan, the nurses that took care of my and Sawyer at any point, the doctors in Cincinnati. Without them we probably wouldn't have had 18 days with Sawyer.
15. Health Insurance- because no one can afford over 1 million in bills. Literally 18 days in the hospital and the bills topped 1 million and more.
16. Neighbors - Josh and I have been blessed with the best neighbors anyone could ask for in their life. From the neighbor that helped us get a better home loan, to the neighbors that call and check on us when our car hasn't moved from the driveway in a couple of days.
17. Gwinnett Memorial Gardens - this is where Sawyer is buried. The people who own the Memorial Gardens are great and so nice. I usually stop in to say hello when I go to visit Sawyer.
18. Memories - this year gave me a lot of them and for that I am thankful. 2013 is a year I most certainly won't forget both in a good way and a bad way.
[Any one catch what I did there with the number 18?]
I enter 2014 with a cautious heart, cherishing all the moments and working toward fully trusting the plan The Lord has already written in my "book". I don't know what this new year holds, but I do know what it will be missing. I can't say it will be a better year, but good grief certainly it is only up from the living hell this last year has been. I will be honest though, I don't really view this New Year as a "fresh start" because it isn't. What happened this year isn't something that will go away when we start writing 2014 on our checks instead of 2013, it something that we will live with forever and we will forever be different people.
Wishing you a Happy New Year where you can rest in the fact that God is in control and He does have a plan for your life even though it may not be clear currently. It isn't easy facing struggles, but you don't have to enter this new year alone.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Until next year,