Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Thank-you for your time, if you’ve stopped by here at any time to read my blog posts.

As we begin a new year, first I’ve got to admit 2021 has been the hardest year of my life. I’ve been debating about what to write, hoping to avoid the weepy sentiments about loss, so here goes. When my husband died in March, many people told me, “He’s better off; now he’s longer suffering,” which seems a rather common thing people think and say after someone dies after a lengthy illness, but it did nothing to console me or help me face the emptiness I felt each and every day. We married in 1980 and were together over 40 years, which when you say it sounds like a long time, but once it’s over seems to have flashed by in the blink of an eye. And I longed for more time to say and do all the things, that now filled my mind. There were many days filled with, “I wish we had done this” or “Why hadn’t I told him that.”

When the hospice care began in 2020, they gave me booklets and a stack of information to read, like a booklet explaining the dying process. and information on grieving. None of that helped me feel less devastated or at peace, but gradually life moves on whether you’re at terms with it or not.

What I’ve been thinking a lot about now is finding ways to move forward, even if all I can manage some days is a few baby steps. I’ve begun revisiting old hobbies and interests that fell to the wayside as my husband needed more and more care over the last several years, but some are much older interests that got pushed to the wayside as we raised our family and were busy with everyday life.

My husband was a gruff, definitely rough around the edges, paratrooper when I met him. He was a hardcore soldier, completely dedicated to the mission and that was one of the things I admired most about him and I keep reminding myself that he would expect me to, using the military phrase he said many, many times, “You’ve got to suck it up and drive on!’ I’m working on that each day, but I’ve also realized as we’re entering another wave of Covid with another variant, that a whole lot of people in America have not developed any ability to deal with adversity or tackle obstacles life throws their way.

As we begin 2022, I am hoping a whole lot of Americans move past the “crisis” mind-set and focus more on living as normal a life as possible and try hard to block out as much of the pandemic drama on the left and the everything is falling apart drama on the right. I firmly believe the best thing each of us can do is to preserve as much of our normal everyday life as possible. Take some time each day to enjoy the small things in life – a pretty sky, sunshine, a kind word that comes your way.

That doesn’t mean pretend this Covid wave isn’t happening, nor does it mean many of the concerns among the political right aren’t happening too; it means preserving your equilibrium, calm, ability to enjoy each day without being consumed with dread and media-driven panic. Maintaining control over how you react will help you cope and adapt to adversity and the constant media fueled dramas that bombard you when you turn on the TV news or consume social media news and politics.

I hope more people feel the same way I do and work hard in this new year to be of good cheer and remain hopeful.

Here in southeast GA we started off the new year with a beautiful sunny day in the 80s. Pretty wonderful! Although it’s traditional in this part of the country to have black-eyed peas, collard greens and cornbread for New Year’s Day, I’m cooking a Korean beef dish with spinach, mushrooms and glass noodles. I couldn’t find the recipe I’ve used for decades, but I found this recipe online, which is pretty close. Yep, after my Thanksgiving turkey misgivings, I’m now making whatever I feel like for holidays. I have one son here for dinner and he loves this Korean beef dish, so he doesn’t mind a bit that I’m skipping my PA-German traditional New Year’s meal – pork roast, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

Wishing all the best to all y’all (now that’s a really Southern phrase).

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