Thank goodness… it's over.
My the first thing I remember from 2011 was a text message from my lifelong friend, Diana, after reading of the end of her friendship with someone. I was concerned that she and one of her best friends had fought or that some betrayal had happened to cause her to sever her friendship. This was out of characteristic for her. After all, she and I had been friends for the entirety of our 36 years.
“She’s gone,” she sent me in a text message. “My Amy is gone.” The third musketeer of Diana’s trio of friends was killed when she lost control of her car, and ran into a pole, causing the vehicle to be engulfed.
Having lost a best friend myself, I had no words that could comfort. It’s a pain I wish upon nobody. I least wished it upon her. The following day, I drove her and another friend to the airport so that they could bury their beloved sister. I spent the next hour crying. They were going to go through things that I could never imagine having to do myself.
The spring brought new employment after being laid off from another job the previous Thanksgiving. My job continued to allow me to keep my child out of daycare. After a string of bad luck with childcare, I had reached my goal of keeping her at home.
My daughter and I found ourselves seeking shelter in our bathtub in April… twice.. but nothing… NOTHING at all prepared me for what I saw two months after the destruction just north of me in Joplin. My family and I visited my in laws in SW Missouri. Joplin is on the way. We chose to drive through town. I hope I never have to see what I saw that day again.
I was lucky enough, however, to see something I know I’ll never see again. It was about 3:45 am on May 30 when I witnessed Space Shuttle Endeavor orbit before it’s final touchdown.
In August, we faced an insect infestation, my daughter’s admirable ability to make a shoddy financial deal as well as my house nearly catching fire… and that was just by 5 pm on one day!
In October, during the weekend of my 37th birthday, my dryer died. Within four days, my washer followed suit.
Two weeks later, I dropped my daughter off with my mother for a weekend alone with my husband. My mom got out of the car, placed her hand on my shoulder and said “Kate, I have bad news..” I expected to hear that her 14 year old dog had passed. Maggie’s been living on luck for the past few years. “Your Aunt Ann is dead.” It wasn’t the fact that she was gone that shocked me the most. She had a heart transplant over 15years ago and had been recently diagnosed with rejection leukemia. For some reason, it was how she left us that took me by most surprise. She took her own life.
Just prior to Christmas, we learned that a young boy we know (a friend of my daughter’s) was no longer in remission. He was, however, able to be home for the holidays after being released from Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
My home has been bustling for the past 2 weeks, though. We’ve had people coming and going from as close as Benton and as far as Iowa. The population in my home has more than doubled this week as a friend I’ve had for nearly 10 years came to visit with her family. Our daughters have grown knowing of each other’s existence. They first met at 3 months old and are old enough now to remember visiting with each other a couple years ago. I’m sure through their whining, tears, fights and tattles, they enjoyed these past few days together in the long run.
And so, I bid a fond adieu to 2011. I, too, give the year the proverbial double-fisted – single fingered salute that I’ve seen so many photos of over the past few days, but not with as much emphasis as other years I’ve endured. I welcome 2012 with open arms, in hopes that this year will prove to bring me better luck.