We're nearing the end of 2017, and it's time to reflect on the year that is about to end. If I would use one word to describe this year, it is change.
It was the first full year without you, 365 days to be exact. We endured more "first" milestones without you from your birthday to your first year anniversary in heaven. There was a build up to each and every milestone. Unspoken unwanted unfilled expectations of how it would all turn out. In the end, I can say that there was a big sigh of relief as the sun set on June 19th. We made it through the first year without you. We got through a year of "firsts", each bundled up with sadness, happy memories, and void. We got out of bed each and every day. We chose life each and every day. It sounds so simple, but yet so hard when you are no longer with us.
This was the year of us continuing to adjust to a family of three. Jacob, you know us better than anyone, and we have been able to build a new house of cards with three thick walls. Your sister is our absolute highlight. She is a compassionate, warm, funny, smart young woman. Yes, she has her mood swings as any teenager, but more than anything she simply lit my heart each and every day. She makes me smile and laugh. One of my highlights this year was when your dad went off to California for a floor ball tournament, and I got her all to myself for a whole weekend. Best weekend ever!
Our trip to Mexico was a highlight for us three.
Your dad and I have discovered things we love to do together. We have probably done more spontaneous date nights this year than ever before. That is still an odd feeling that we can simply take off. It's still ingrained in us that one of us should stay back home. It's still hits me how crazy it is that we both are laying next to each other in yoga or sweating next to each other in spin class. It's a gift that we like to do things together. The best part is biking together. Your dad is a natural biker, and we loved completing Courage Classic together in memory of you this summer. It's special to share Colorado natures together.
I have had a huge year of learning at work. It seems like every couple of months I was asked to take on more responsibilities. As soon as there was a sense of routine, some new challenges were coming my way. I know I am incredibly lucky to love what I am doing. I see people get stuck at work, and not knowing how to enable a change for themselves. It's a big leap of faith to let go of bad routines and patterns to unravel in the unknown, but it can be so good. My lessons from life with you are helping me tremendously at work. Stress, politics, and drama can't totally get me when I know what is a true emergency and what it truly means to lose what is important in life. It's a calm that can only be learned the hard way. It makes you brave in the middle of chaos. That I got to travel all over Europe and Asia and connect with family and close friends as part of my work was a huge bonus. I leave this year with many fond memories from London to Lisbon to Berlin to Tokyo and Singapore.
Hanging with my dad in Norway.
Seeing Nadia in London.
Meeting Madelon in Lisbon.
Spending time with my sister in Berlin.
What I know today is that the happiest people are people who are happy with what they have. People who are not constantly striving for what they don't have or wanting to be something else than they are. People who are not wanting to change their loved ones to be something they can never be. I am starting to think this is the key to happiness. To simply be happy for what you have. It's not always easy, but that is how you find joy in life. I miss you dearly, Jacob. But I do best on days when I can cherish and feel the tremendous gratefulness that I was the lucky one to be your mom for ten years - rather than the days when I am wondering why we only got ten years together. It's all about if the glass is half full or half empty. All lessons we all know so well, but it's an art to truly live by these simple rules of life. Some of my happiest people come with a history they carry beautifully on their sleeve.
What I know is that losing your child is one of the things people dread more than anything in life. Most people can't even imagine life without their children. They have no problem to tell me that to my face, and I am always wondering what is an appropriate answer to that statement when this is not a theoretical statement but my reality. We all have a journey, a journey guiding us each and every day. My journey was ten wonderful life changing years with you that will continue to guide me each and every day. I can't imagine myself without that legacy, and how you formed me. It's my journey, and I am proud of it. I know people are still afraid to remind me of you, but I live by you in everything I do. I don't want to hide that history or legacy. In fact, I couldn't be more proud of our years together, and what it did to my outlook of life. So, what I know today is to not shy away from friends' and families' past. It's part of who they all are today, and people live and learn by their history. It's all the beautiful wrinkles telling a story of true life. Mine I am forever grateful for.
Tonight, I am counting my blessings and what I know. I am looking into a new year with a curious eye, and hoping for a new year of moments of joy, happiness, and love as I continue to carry you in my heart each and every day.
Sweet Jacob, I love you to the moon and back,