2016 seems to have been difficult for a lot of people. It has sure been a hard one for me. I ended 2015 in the worst way possible: I lost my son. I also ended 2015 in the very best way possible: I got to meet my son, and hold him in my arms. In that final week of the year, as 2016 approached, everyone told me, “Next year will be better”; as if the end of the year would somehow reset the tragedy that had just occurred in my life. I didn’t have hard feelings about 2015. Yes, with the loss of my sister and my son, it was one very hard year for my entire family. But it was also the year that changed my life. It was the year that gave me Lincoln. 2016 was filled with the pain and longing of empty arms. It was filled with anger, hardship, doubt, and fear. But 2016 was also filled with joy and growth. It brought me genuine relationships and valuable life lessons. It brought me self-discovery and newfound confidence. And it brought me hope.
I can honestly say that I am not the same person that I was a year ago. When I first started noticing the changes, it really troubled me. I wondered if I would ever feel like myself again. My heart was shattered into a million little pieces. But I eventually picked up those pieces and created something brand new: like a mosaic made of broken glass. I have come to love this new version of myself. I look at myself so much differently now. I feel stronger, more capable, less afraid of change.
Before this year, I would have described myself in the simplest of terms: wife, sister, friend, teacher. Now I am so much more: I am a writer. I am an artist. I am strong. I am brave. I am Lincoln’s mom. And being Lincoln’s mom has taught me so much more than I ever learned from books. I have learned a deeper compassion for others. I have learned the harshness, and also the beauty of this world. I have learned that this life is precious, and that I have to make the most of each day. I am now willing to dream and hope for bigger things than I ever knew were possible. I wish that Lincoln could still be here with me. But I will take these lessons and I will make him proud. I will look for the good in life. 2016 was full of struggles, but I am grateful for all of the ways I have grown from those struggles.