I love those words! The promise of a new year, a rebirth of opportunity and a fresh start. Though it’s roughly two and half months till the “official” new year, today feels like a new year for me.
2016 has been horrible. To quote Queen Elizabeth II in 1992, an “annus horriblus.”
This little video pretty much sums it up:
It started badly and got progressively worse. My eldest son’s 3 eye surgeries and stress fractures, the sudden loss of my dad, serious issues with extended family, my youngest son’s struggles with severe anxiety, my middle son breaking his right hip and the next week breaking his left ankle. Me with debilitating exhaustion from iron deficiency. It just kept coming at our family, without ending. Moms are supposed to hold it together when the going gets rough. I did for a while, but then fell apart with my own serious health issues. Last week I had surgery to help combat the root cause (thanks Aunt Flo) of my iron deficiency anemia, trying to put an end to the heart palpitations, overwhelming fatigue, hair loss, terrible brain fog and lack of oxygen throughout my body.
It all came to a head four weeks ago when I just couldn’t function. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I had spent my last cent. There was nothing left for me to give to anyone, including myself. I thought I’d learned a lesson when I had my anaphylactic reaction to my iron medication a few weeks ago. I said I’d listen to myself, take care of myself. It is easier said than done, especially when you have kids and family to take care of and work to do.
So what happens when you don’t listen?
You fall apart.
And then you realize you need help.
I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. We caught up on the kids and life in general and parted ways. Then I got an email from her asking me if everything was OK as she sensed perhaps things were not. And she offered help. So often when someone offers help, I’m quick to say “oh that’s ok thanks! We’re fine!” A lot of us are like that. Why?? Why when we are falling apart and people want to help do we say “I’m fine”?
Is it because we are afraid to show weakness? That we are afraid to let people into the reality of our messy, difficult reality? That we are afraid of being judged? That we need to keep up the façade of pinterest-perfect, facebook-fabulous existence?
Truth is we all need help at points in life. And it’s not weakness to ask for it.
I told my friend that yes, I needed help. Within hours, meals were organized for the week of my surgery. From people I barely knew as well as from good friends. The same happened when my dad died. We were helped, taken care of, loved.
But this time was different. I should have asked for help before I got to this stage – help with all aspects of life – home, family and work – instead of letting my world crash down.
I’m now 9 days post-op. And recovered from surgery and a post surgery infection. Though I have a couple more battles in front of me. I have some “questionable” growths on my ovary and fallopian tube that need to be monitored. I had some abnormal endometrial tissue that had to be biopsied. The wait for my negative (thank you!!) result was a little tortuous.
Tomorrow I see my hematologist for a checkup and blood work. But my hemoglobin is climbing, and hopefully my iron levels are too. Today I feel much more like my old self. At last.
So I’m declaring today the first day of my new year! A new year where the trials of 2016 can be remembered, but not carried forward. Where lessons that have been learned will not be forgotten. Where help will be asked for before the crash.
And as a dear friend told me this morning, “Deb – 2016 proved you are badass!” It sure did because I’ve come out alive thanks to the kindness, love and support of others.
Alive and looking forward to a Fearless New Year!
And perhaps a celebratory martini (or two)…Cheers!