Wow, it is hard to believe we are already here, the first day of 2016! For me, 2015 seemed to pass slowly and then all at once. January 26, 2015 will forever be a “before” and “after” day for me, splitting my life into two distinct periods: before I truly knew grief, and afterwards — now — living with the painful knowledge and awareness of what real loss feels like. After my dear friend Celine died, February and March felt like wading through life underwater; time was water-logged and everything felt strange. But slowly, gradually, throughout this year I have returned to myself — albeit, a slightly different version of myself. I guess that is what it means to grow older: to be shaped by life while trying to remain true to that authentic core of your being, of your spirit.
In many ways, grief stripped away all the nonessentials of my life this past year, leaving a deeper appreciation for what truly matters: the people I love and the experiences and memories I will cherish all the rest of my days, however many remaining days I am blessed with. To be sure, this is the first New Year’s Eve that I feel the full weight of gratitude to be here, witnessing the unfolding of a new year. It really is true that each day on this Earth is uncertain and precious; each hour we are given of this life is a miraculous gift. I feel that so much more deeply today than I did a year ago.
Here are some of my gifts from 2015:
I got to travel to Carmel with my sweetheart to celebrate our one-year anniversary at a charming Bed & Breakfast by the seaside.
I got to travel to L.A. to watch my brother Greg’s amazing panel at USC about “The Girl Effect.” So proud of him!
I got to travel to Pittsburgh for a big family reunion and to celebrate my grandparents’ sixtieth wedding anniversary.
I got to reunite with many close friends, and meet many new friends, at Celine’s Celebration of Life — which was a beautiful and healing day; sad and yet also more joyous than I could have imagined.
I got to celebrate both of my boys graduating with their M.B.A. degrees: my brother from USC and my sweetheart from Presidio Graduate School. They both blow me away with their smarts, hearts, and hard work. They are now making a meaningful difference in the world: Greg at CGI America focused on early childhood education, and Allyn in the fields of sustainability and education in the Bay Area.
I got to celebrate my 28th birthday with so many people I love, who made me feel very loved.
I got to watch my dad be inducted into the Ventura County Sports Hall of Fame for his career achievements and impact as a sports columnist. What an amazing day!
I got to travel to Europe with my sweetheart and his family for two weeks! We went to Paris, Barcelona, and the Provence region of France. It was a wonderful, beautiful, life-affirming trip!
I got to deliver my first-ever sermon! It was such an amazing experience and my mom and dear friends came to support me. I am already looking forward to hopefully giving another sermon at my church next summer!
I got to take my sweetheart on a surprise trip to Half Moon Bay for his birthday!
I got to travel to Lake Tahoe for the first time and see my one-act play “Woman, Running Late, in a Dress” produced onstage! It was a dream-come-true!
And I got to soak up lots of time this holiday season with people who mean so much to me.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away.”
Here’s to lots of breathtaking moments in 2016!