Thursday, December 25, 2014

I Lost A Year

Sitting here on Christmas Eve, now Christmas. Unable to sleep.  Different than past years when I couldn't sleep because I was an excited child, or an excited parent, or putting together some ridiculous dollhouse. This year I can't sleep because I can't stop thinking about the last year.
Last time I wrote anything here was the end of 2013 and I was pleased with myself for being slightly better than mediocre in Cyclocross.  Oh, those halcyon days.
This year went a little different.
In January I lost my religion. I suppose more accurately I should say I left my religion. It has been a pretty traumatic experience for my family and my marriage and it isn't something I have talked about much with people outside my inner circle but it happened, it is a work in progress, and that is all I care to say about it semi-publicly on a medium that hasn't been valid for 5 years.
Soon after things settled down from that, I began the process of losing my father.  This process actually began several years ago but in May we began to measure time in weeks. Then days. Then hours. Until in June we lost my father.
I was blessed to have a chance to spend time saying the things that needed to be said, and hearing the things I needed to hear. We did not discuss the fact that I had left the church he raised me in. Frankly it never came up. I can't say that it was easy to say goodbye, but the idea of knowing that time was growing short added an urgency that I found comfort in. We buried him on Monday, June 30. My daughter's 7th birthday.
Later that week, on July 4th. My sister found out that her 8 year old daughter had a rare and terrible tumor growing on her brain stem. The original prognosis was very grim. After many second opinions, and a lot of research they came up with a treatment plan that has been difficult but so far successful. She still has a long road ahead.  We spent the summer doing fundraisers and bake sales. It has had a strengthening effect on my family. It has had a positive effect on my view of the world. So many people, friends and strangers alike have helped us in ways we can never thank them enough for. My niece has proven to be an incredibly strong and resilient person. Far more than many adults.
It feels like I may be coopting my niece's struggles. I can't claim a relationship with her that is more special than anyone else's in my family. I am basically the "pull my finger" uncle. But the fact is the time immediately following the death of my father was spent on our heels collectively as a family.
The year has been a blur. Frankly it seems like it can't possibly have all  happened, and yet here I am.
I have never spent much time in reflection at this time of year. But if any year warranted retrospect in the past 38 it is this one.
Lying in bed as Ma was adjusting her kerchief,as it were, I could hear the sound of the St Peter's Christmas Mass playing on the TV in the other room. I have always turned it on after the kids went to bed for the simple fact that it was what my father had always done. I thought about how that is how I heard it as a kid. My room was adjacent to my parents and the old man would go to sleep each night with the bedroom TV up surprisingly loud. The realization that I was once again listening to the English translation play-by-play of the pope from the other room on Christmas Eve soon had tears streaming onto the pillow. It was the impetus for this meandering entry.
It was the first time in a bit that I realized the loss of my Dad. It snuck up on me that I had also lost the entirety of 2014.
This isn't what I usually write about here. It doesn't have much to do with losing weight, or riding bikes. But I needed to say these things "out loud". It is cathartic for me to have them somewhere.
I won't be posting this link to Facebook, or begging for people to read this sad sack journal like I usually do. If you read this you stumbled onto it. Which is how I will leave it.
Merry Christmas. Here's to a brighter 2015.

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