In 2012 my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma. It is called the “terminator” of cancers; there is no cure and patients are usually given 12-14 months to live. Most recently Senator John McCain passed to this horrific disease.
As a full time employee and caregiver, subsequent breadwinner, as you can imagine; my memory slipped. I had laser focus on my husband and my job.
I wanted to capture as many laughs, visits, friends, gifts, everything so I began creating years in review photobooks via Snapfish or a more recent favorite, Chatbooks on my iPhone app.
This reflection started with merely the purpose of capturing my husband’s days but has evolved into much more. My husband, a rock star, placed 2nd in a half marathon in his age group while on chemo! I cannot begin to express the light he was in my life and to all fortunate enough to know him.
My Beloved passed years later, far exceeding the original prognosis. For a variety of reasons, he was my world. Months later I joined a grief group for younger persons whom had lost their spouses and learned of the term “widow’s brain”, it is a haze that many of us experience post a traumatic event.
It has never been more important for me to capture my years than now. I include work milestones, trainings/certifications, places traveled, meaningful emails or texts exchanged, friends visited or even simply meals I’ve cooked. Cooking became far less interesting after my husband passed; he was always freely giving me praise or expressing joy due to my culinary talents; so when I do muster up the courage to cook for myself, the photo is a reminder, “yes, you can do this”.
At the end of the year I reflect on how far I’ve come. I have yet to succumb to the overwhelming grief. I honor him by moving, progressing, sometimes even relishing life.
A very long time ago I heard someone attribute Dr. Maya Angelou to “Every day I try to do 3 things better today than yesterday; if I only succeed at one; I am better.”
I encourage you to begin this practice, aside from your employer’s performance review, think about your life in 2018, what have you done? How have you evolved?
May your 2018 be better than you thought and 2019 be your best yet.