If I have learned anything this year it's that just when you think nothing worse could happen to you, something will. You will never be without tragedy in your life. What makes or break a person though is how you deal with it.
Do you let it consume you until you're an empty shell of a person?
Do you let it harden you until you feel nothing at all anymore?
Or do you choose to not let your circumstances define who you are?
I think I've been through the first two of those questions at one point or another. There were times during most of March and April where I would wake up just long enough to get Alanna ready for school (at that point, Lydia was still up in Maine) before I'd collapse back in bed or on the sofa and pass back out until it was time to get her off the bus again in the afternoon.
Despite all that sleep I was still exhausted. Emotionally drained. Empty. Completely empty. No one understood why and I couldn't figure out how to explain it to anyone so the question I was always getting was "Why are you so tired all the time? It's not like you've done anything today." I couldn't make them understand just how crushing the depression I was going through was.
What's worse, is that I couldn't pinpoint what was causing it. There was no one reason for it. And no in-your-face obvious one. But it had consumed me. I was on auto pilot. I did what needed to be done when it needed to be done, but nothing more. I let it suck me down into this deep dark hole that I never thought I'd climb out of.
Later on down the road, after losing Lilly, I just stopped caring. Why care about things when someone or something is just going to come and take it away again. Why put yourself out there to love anyone when in an instant they could be gone? She'd saved me more than we'd saved her, and she was gone. And it broke my heart.
Then in August, September, and November, we lost the 3 remaining Rottweilers that we had. We tried everything we could think of to keep them with us but one by one they just passed away. They were in so much pain and it hurt so bad to lose them. Every time a scar had started to form another one died and ripped the wound right open again.
I got to a point where I tried to hold my heart in an iron grip so nothing could get to it and nothing could hurt it again.
But that is no way to live.
If you are successful that way of keeping the bad things out, you also miss out on all the good. This year has been the worst year I have ever lived in my 28 years of life. I cannot remember a worse one. It's been heartache after heartache with seemingly no break in between. But if I shut myself off, and shut down completely, then I miss out on the possibility that next year may not be so bad.
Could it be?
But what if it isn't? Am I going to let what's happened this year dictate the things that I do or what I want to accomplish? No. If anything, everything that's happened this year has only shown me, through all my brokenness and heartache, that I can survive. I did survive. Not without injury, but I'm here.
I can't stay that I look forward to what this next year has in store. But I can say that I am waiting for it. And I will meet it head on.