New Year's Eve 2013

As 2013 comes to a close, I feel the need to take stock of things.  This is a good practice that reminds me to be aware of all I have.  And, of course, it gives me a chance to remember the things lost along the way...

For Erin, 2013 was a heck of a year.  Last year at this time, she was really struggling.  Struggling to make sense of it all, struggling to find her niche, struggling to find happiness.  Judging by the smiles and giggles we see and hear, she is navigating things nicely at the moment.  Busy with golf and volleyball and friends... and a little homework here and there.  Hard to believe she will be registering for classes next month, preparing to enter high school.  She will begin passing milestones that Shannon never reached.

Dan had his "best" year ever on the work front.  13 years into working in the fuel card industry, he feels like he finally knows what he's doing!  I say that in jest, but there is some truth to that.  He's grateful to be with a company that recognizes the value of a veteran sales guy.  Another career year, and another year of sobriety through it all as well.  It's something he never forgets and he's diligent about working his program.  That is something for which I am grateful every day.

As a family, we traveled abroad for the first time, and our trip to London and Paris was definitely one of the highlights of our year.  We've agreed that it's time to start saving for our next adventure, possibly Ireland in the summer of 2015.  It's good to have goals.

Of course, publishing Determined to Matter and and sharing our story was a big part of our journey in 2013.  It gave me a new role as an author, speaker, and advocate.  We've got some events and ideas to try to push the book forward to a wider, more national audience.  I'll keep you posted.  And, I may need your help...

Learning to be a family of three is coming more easily now.  Thank goodness.  Dan, Erin and I are settled into a nice rhythm, looking out for each other and sharing friendship, love, and laughter along the way.

As for me, this year left me with a little less breast and a few more teeth.  I survived radiation treatment, lymphedema, and oral surgery.  And, I'm happy to report that as 2013 comes to a close, I am feeling good, and I finally own my new teeth.  After 18 months and many correspondences between me, WFMC, and insurance, the insurance company denied coverage for the teeth.  They paid for the posts under the premise that they were medically necessary, but apparently the teeth that go on those posts are optional.  Luckily, after pleading my case yet again, the Mayo Clinic agreed to clear the remaining $6700 from my medical bill.  I guess I count that as one of my best victories of the year!

There we some happier endeavors for me this past year:  I took a writing class, I traveled with girlfriends, and I started looking for a job.  All these things feel like progress, and that's what I want.  I don't know where I'm going, but I don't want to stand still.

Just like last year at this time, I find myself wondering about this blog.  It still feels so good to me to write, and I still hear from you people from time to time that reading it is still a part of your routine.  I guess I feel like that's enough to keep it going.  I worry that it's arrogant to write a blog about your own life all the time, but maybe it's more than that.  Maybe it's a touchstone for things going on in other people's lives.  Maybe it's a chance to share some humor, some sorrow, some connection.  If it works for me, and it works for you, well, we should keep going...

So, tonight we shut the door on 2013.  725 days without Shannon.

Happy New Year, everyone.