We’re eight days in 2019, but it’s taken me this long to have the stomach to be able to sit down and think back on what was 2018. It was a hell of a year for me – and I mean that, in many ways, it was absolute hell. It was messy from start to finish and filled with loss and grief and sadness, and I can honestly say I’ve never been so happy to put a calendar year behind me.
The year didn’t start off bad. Or at least, the first three days of 2018 were fine. I went to some hockey games, supported my husband in his endeavors, and enjoyed what I hoped would be a prosperous, happy year ahead.
Then, on January 4th, 2018, my father passed away unexpectedly at the age of 59 – one week shy of his 60th birthday. Obviously, that threw quite a wrench into the year for myself and my family.
From there, it was the business of everything that came after – cleaning out his apartment, sorting his belongings, donating things, planning his wake and finding his final resting place – and so much paperwork. Filing life insurance things, calling doctors, police reports, and any other thing that came our way. A year later, we’re still doing paperwork – and I have learned so much about funerals and burials and death certificates and life insurance.
Less than two weeks after my dad passed away, I suffered the first broken bone of my life. I made it 27 years without breaking anything – but I slipped on a huge patch of ice in downtown Buffalo and ending up fracturing the radial head of my elbow. I had it in a cast for less than 24 hours and then wore a sling for weeks. It was frustrating, though not debilitating by any means, and made me better appreciate just what my body is capable of.
From there, I had a few months of peace. Lots of hockey games (of course), the day job, a massage or two; a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner at Russell’s with my husband. I covered AHL games in Buffalo; college hockey in Buffalo, Rochester and Niagara Falls; women’s professional hockey in Buffalo, Sabres development camp, and an NHL game in Buffalo to end the year on a high note. I went on a road trip or two with the Jr. Sabres – and overall, I really enjoyed doing what I love.
I didn’t get a whole lot of traveling done in 2018, but did manage to finally check off all the Finger Lakes en route to Syracuse on a weekend getaway. I also went to Toronto for a game with my husband and went I’m looking forward to finally, really making it to Texas in 2019; we’ve already booked our plane tickets! It’ll be my first time flying (ever! and I’m both terrified and elated at the upcoming adventure.
The loss of my father really gave me a different perspective on life. It threw me into a lot of anxiety about my health and the health of those around me. I mean, I’ve always gotten regular physicals, but at times, my anxiety got out of control. I worried that my heart was racing, or my breathing was shallow. I felt a pain in my leg and assumed the worst. It was… exhausting, but I am trying – and I am trying also to take best care of myself.
Part of that was to finally get braces – or in this case, Invisalign. I’m more than halfway through my treatment now and I can really see a difference. I’m excited for the final product. I’ve been told since I was a kid that I needed braces, but it just wasn’t financially possible back then.
I’ve also signed up for life insurance. I know I’m only 28 now, but it’s never too early – and in fact, I got a very good deal by signing up early, when I’m still young and healthy. I even got a policy that covers my husband so he didn’t have to do any of the legwork. While it’s not fun to think about, it’s important – my dad’s death taught me that – and it’s better to be prepared than not.
I also lost two uncles in 2018 – one in May, and one in December. It truly was a year of great loss for my family, and I can only hope that the year ahead will be kinder to us.
Other things: I got a tattoo (in memory of my dad), met author Angie Thomas (who is amazing). I joined a gym, stayed for a few months and then left (oops). I did goat yoga and puppy yoga. I saw Hamilton in Buffalo! I learned first aid and CPR. I signed up for the organ donor registry. I got a wonderful new nephew, and will get another in 2019!
I gained friends and lost others. I saw people’s true colors through their political beliefs. I grew in ways I didn’t know possible.
2019 – let’s do this.