Tuesday, December 17, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

As the end of the year approaches, I have to tell you that I'm not sad to see it go. It has been a very difficult year. It had a lot to live up to...2012 was a year where I was quite the happy camper. Probably the happiest camper I'd ever been, in fact. My business was going well and I was feeling good about my future and where I was. Then came nasty old 2013...

The year started with my father's newest battle with cancer. I had no doubt he was going to beat it once more. 

February brought a flood in my kitchen due to a faulty water line in my refrigerator. Terrible, yes, but I was looking on the bright side - I got to replace my much-hated flooring. February also brought the Unglued Craft Fest in Fargo which was a true highlight for b.haven.

March was bad for Dad. I had been making frequent trips to Missouri from North Dakota, despite the weather since the year had started. I was worried and distracted which caused an interesting side effect - my dogs. They were becoming increasingly agitated around me. They were wondering where their stable den mother was, I'm sure. Two of them had an argument which I tried to break up with my hands. Dumb. My first finger caught on the canine tooth of my pretty white girl, puncturing my tendon sheath causing swelling and infection. I spent two nights and three days in the hospital and had two surgeries. Geez. Bit by my own sweet dog. While recovering on my last day (I insisted) in the hospital, I got the call - I needed to get to Missouri and now. A blizzard was in full force, keeping me in town for another day after I was released from the hospital. It was the first of April.

I spent the month of April in Canton, Missouri, helping my father to die. I fed the horse, mowed the yard, planted flowers, held his hand and rubbed his legs and talked and talked to him. Dad passed away April 30.

I barely remember the rest of May and June. My stepson, C, who lived in North Dakota near us, decided that he was going to move back to Missouri and wanted to get his house ready for sale. It needed a lot of work. We poured a sidewalk and patio, repaired walls and painted, painted, painted. I replaced flooring and fixtures, built raised flower beds, and generally dressed things up. It was a good distraction. I was busy. Busy is good. Tired is good.

July saw the sale of Dad's house and the dreaded "going through" of his things. His workshop was exactly as he had left it, with projects left unfinished and his organization of stuff all too familiar. His death was becoming really real. My heart ached. 

August brought sickness to my beloved chocolate lab Rufus. Little did I know how serious he was about to become. Glen and I also decided to move back to Missouri around this time. We found a house we liked and started planning our big move south. Finally getting C's house on the market at the end of the month was a relief, I now had my own house to get ready to list.

September began with my maternal grandmother's death. She was 99 and the cornerstone of my connection with the rest of my mother's family. Our last words had not been ideal and I honestly don't think I ever considered that she wouldn't live forever. Would her funeral be the last time I saw my aunts, uncles and cousins in one place again? Maintaining a connection would now be work.

October brought our big move back to Missouri. A big, beautiful house just waiting to be filled with all of our crap and my decorating. I spent a good part of October sleeping on the floor of one house or the other while furniture was being loaded, transported and unloaded. Juggling schedules and dogs and timeframes was totally exhausting. By the time we all got to one place, I didn't care that my house was beautiful and big or that I was even in Missouri. I just wanted to sleep. 

November came with serious health issues for two of my uncles. I had JUST seen them at my Grandmother's funeral. It was all quite scary there for a while. My closer proximity allowed a good visit, thankfully. November was also the beginning of the steep decline of my poor Rufus. Say what you will about pets, some have a way of becoming more than just a dog to you. Our first dog as a family, Rufus is a special boy. I made every mistake a new dog owner can make. But he forgave me, taught me, and opened my eyes to a whole new world. Ruf can go anywhere, meet anybody or any dog, and just wants to be a good boy. He's a simple boy with simple needs and does his best all the time. We began to realize that his health issue was not going to be fixable, no matter what we tried, how little sense it made, or how many vets we saw. Thanksgiving came and I tried really, really hard to be grateful, thankful, gracious.

And now it's December. My dog is dying. My Christmas tree is up. My house is still not unpacked or "put together." I have not made a single gift, ornament, or effort towards the holidays (other than the tree). And I'm just waiting. Waiting until this year is over. Waiting until this terrible black cloud lifts just a little bit. Waiting for a break.

I sound terribly depressed, and maybe I am. But there were some bright spots this year.  Number one being that I saw pretty much everyone I had ever known growing up at some point this year. Old family friends and relatives paying their respects. I reconnected with cousins and extended family. People showed up. I was surrounded by love. I got to see my stepson A's beautiful wedding and once again was surrounded by beginning love, a family in the making. I learned how to do a number of home repairs and developed an interest in renovating houses (we got an offer on C's house within a week of listing it). My brother-in-law opened his own doggie day care and boarding facility, which I'm proud to be a part of in a little way. 

And then there were the tiny moments. There was the one summer night, after a long hard day of house stuff, me and my hubby grilled steaks, drank beer, and listened to one of our favorite albums until long after dark. There was the one frosty morning when a brilliant red cardinal caught the sun just right, creating absolutely stunning sight. Hugs from friends at the right moment. Grandbaby Emery giggles. A perfect email from someone who cares but barely knew me. That one full moon back in October. A glorious sunset at my new house.

I know that some years just suck. I also know that time keeps going, life keeps happening, choices will always need to be made, and attitude is everything. 

B.haven is on sabbatical. Ms.b.haven will be back at some point. Promise.


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