Today is the last day of 2016.
Frankly, I am quite glad that it is nearly over. It has been a very long time since I can remember having a year as bad as this past one.
It seems each year I start a new journal with the words, “A brand new year. I sure hope it is better than __________.” Tomorrow’s entry will probably begin the same way. I am not getting my hopes up, though. Perhaps that sounds negative, but by not hoping for good things, I cannot be disappointed when they do not happen.
To be fair, the year 2016 did not start out horribly. In fact, I had great hopes of improving in so many areas when the new year dawned 366 days ago. Looking back at my early journal entries, I actually made some headway on some of those improvements. While I struggled most of the year with knowing what my purpose would be, I also read of many days where my main role was grammy to a very special little boy. March saw us celebrating his first birthday. It was such a special day that all of our kids and their spouses joined us in celebrating. A picture snapped by someone there that day melted this grammy’s heart. It was my little man standing with his head buried into my shoulder, almost in hiding from all the commotion of guests around him. That picture was my Facebook profile picture for most of the year. I also had it printed on a 5×7 photo to frame for our bedroom.
I’m not sure what happened, but two months after that special day, I felt the early grips of depression’s fingers begin to tighten around me. I had no reason to be depressed, at least no new reason. Yes, my illness reared its head, making my life somewhat difficult, but that wasn’t anything too extraordinary. I remember the day in May, one day before my husband and I were scheduled to leave for a long weekend to my favorite beach in Florida, that the desire to die was so great that it took all that was in me to not give in to that desire. I have to say, even though I have more experience with depression than I care to remember, this bout caught me off guard. It wasn’t like major changes had taken place in my life. I had come to terms with my illness. I had accepted the empty nest and subsequent move that it brought–I didn’t necessarily like the move, but I knew it wasn’t going to change. It just seemed to come out of nowhere.
That depression continued through spring, summer, and fall. It was compounded in September when I learned that the most precious little person in my life would be moving to another state. People tried to tell me that I was still his grammy and that he still needed me. These were words that not only didn’t help but often just hurt more. The reason for that was either because they came from someone who had no first hand experience of what being a grandma was or they were grandmas whose grandchildren lived close enough to see on a regular basis. I sunk deeper and deeper into despair. I stopped going to church–a place I have yet to return and am not sure I will be able to. Maybe people meant well with some of the words they said or wrote or texted to me, but those words continued to cut deep, deep wounds in a very fragile heart. I found myself an outcast from some of the activities I once enjoyed–Bible studies, youth group–whether intentionally or unintentionally didn’t matter. Fifteen years of sobriety went down the drain as I tried to drown the intense pain and emptiness that haunted me day and night. The diet that had helped me feel better was thrown to the wayside. My visits to the gym ceased. The day I said goodbye to my daughter, her husband, and my precious grandson was one of the most heart wrenching days I have ever experienced, second only to the day I got the call saying my dad had passed away.
Since that day, I have found it difficult to move forward. In November I applied and was hired for a part time job at our local Christian bookstore. That job, while taking a huge physical toll on my body, has been a good outlet for distraction. I also have found that the people I work with are very much like a family to me. I am so thankful for them. There have been days at work where I find myself on the verge of tears thinking about how much I am missing as a grandma who no longer lives close to her precious grandson, but I cannot wallow in those thoughts while at work. Of course, I often fall apart when I get home and am alone–depression has not released its grip completely.
So as I look back on 2016, I can honestly say that I am glad it is ending. I don’t expect wonderful things from 2017. I’m pretty sure Grammy’s precious boy will not be moving back to be close to me. I don’t know if depression’s grip will finally be broken. I don’t know what news will come at next week’s doctor’s appointment–an appointment that will give me the results of a recent painful test I endured. I am not naive enough to say that the coming year couldn’t be worse than the year that will soon be behind me. I know all too well that could play out to be the case. Still, I find myself saying “Sayonara” to 2016.
I won’t miss you or look back on you with many fond memories.