A Year in Review: 2018

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.

After finally getting my license at the end of 2017, I got a car! It’s been a wild ride (… no pun intended?) and I can’t imagine *not* having one now.

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.

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