2017 – Raw Hindsight

The year 2017 might be the shittiest year of my life. I try to stay positive. I really felt bad for people who said 2016 was the worst year of their life. It seemed like everyone on social media was complaining about it. 2016 was a great year for me. I wish the good fortune would have continued. Life just kept handing me lemons, and I could not keep up. Every month, a new “fuck you!” surfaced. Every month, my positivity dwindled.

After work one day in January 2017 my dad tells me my mom is in the emergency room. She had just finished talking to him on the phone, and he is about to leave. I tell him I will drive him to the hospital. We wait about an hour in the waiting room. Finally, the nurse tells us we can go see her. At this point, we have no idea what’s going on. My mom is in good spirits, but the doctor tells her not to talk. He explains she has a rare case of Epiglottitis, which is the inflation of the flap at the base of your tongue; it stops food from going down your trachea. The epiglottis is slowly expanding, and will most likely cut off her airway. The doctor admits her to the ICU, and the doctor needs to place a breathing tube. While the nurses prep her, the doctor explains all of this again. He also says the words that will forever haunt me: “Your mom could die.” Hearing that phrase for the first time really puts things into perspective. This is my mom, who I thought would live forever; however, that is not the case.

February rolls around, and my grandma and aunt are visiting. A few of my friends are over as well, and we are all playing a game from the Jackbox Party Pack. We are having a great time. Suddenly, a popping noise comes from the basement. The TV turns off, and the lights flicker. My uncle runs downstairs, and yells, “Fire!” My brother grabs the fire extinguisher from the under the sink. He runs me over as I attempt to do the same. We stay in a hotel for over a week as the damage is repaired.

I get a text message from my mom in March. She tells me my cousin is dead. Coincidentally, he had died in a house fire. It feels like a cruel joke played by the universe. He left behind our family, including both his parents. He also left behind a wife, and two children; one of them not even a year old. I am very sad at the loss of my cousin, but I am even more devastated for his wife and two sons. His sons won’t get to know their father.

April is not about to let up. I visit my other grandma for the last time. Before April, her mind was sharp and she was in good health for a 97 year old. However, she caught the bug that was making its rounds at my cousin’s funeral. It is too much for her. She stops eating, and is bedridden. April should have been a joyous time. My friend got married, but at his wedding reception I had to put on a happy mask. I want to celebrate with my friends, but I cannot stop thinking about my grandma. The mask cracks at a bar outside of the reception hall. I break down and lay it all out to another friend.

I expect May. My grandma passes away after spending several weeks in bed, and not eating. I attend her funeral.

At this point, I expect something to happen in June. Spending time in the hospital, being in and out of hotels, and traveling for funerals really puts a strain on me. All I want is a return to normalcy. Thankfully, June is uneventful.

July is a bit rough. Linkin Park was going to perform in a city near me in August, and I purchased tickets as soon as they were on sale. This would have been my fourth time seeing them live. I was so excited. In July, I read a Reddit post saying the lead singer, Chester Bennington, is found dead. I do not idolize celebrities, but this one hurt. I grew up listening to Chester’s voice. His voice was there for many major events in my life, including my cousin’s and grandma’s deaths. The song, One More Light, did not tell me that it was going to okay; it told me there are other people who know how I feel, and it fucking sucks! There are people who care if one more light goes out! And now Chester’s light has gone out.

August did not give me a break. Our dishwasher floods into the bathroom, and destroys quite a bit. It forces me to use a different bathroom to shower for a few weeks. All I want is everything to be normal, and showering daily in a different bathroom is not normal. It is a little thing, but really wears on my psychological health.

September, October, November, and December are spent finding my normal; to rejuvenate my mental and emotional health. I do not travel, except to see my other grandma. I take a week off from work just to take a staycation. Although I have scars, I eventually feel replenished. I can finally look back and see the good.

My mom did not die! The doctors were able to insert the breathing tube. They did not need to do a tracheotomy. She stayed in the hospital a few nights for observation, and then she went home. God bless her, her spirit was never broken. I wish I could be as calm as her.

The fire did not harm any one or any of the pets. No possessions were destroyed. My family and friends sprang into action, got the fire out, 911 called, and all of the pets escorted to safety. I owe a whole lot of gratitude to them. The only thing ruined was the circuit breaker and box. We had to stay in a hotel for a week in the middle of February, but it was mild weather during this time. Humans and pets moved back once the mess was cleaned up.

My friend got married to the love of his life! How cool is that? I wish I could have celebrated with them during their big day.

Yeah, we also saw a flood, but we got a new shower out of it. It’s better than the old one!

With my grandma, I am thankful I got to say goodbye to her. I got to love her, and know her for 28 years of my life. Knowing she is not suffering anymore is a blessing, but I wish she had not had to suffer the last few weeks of her life. Even though I got to say goodbye I wish I could talk to her more.

I have not found the silver lining to my cousin’s death. The reality is, there never will be one. No parent should have to bury their son or daughter. Every son should have a chance to know their father. Maybe, one day, I’ll get to share a story about their father to his sons.

Through all the bad things, 2017 offered other good things as well. 2017 will always remind me not to get hung up on the bad things. When bad stuff happens there are two things you can do: change the situation, or accept it. Sometimes, you can help other people change their bad situations, and you should strive to help. Sometimes, you have to accept it and move on. Part of moving on is focusing on the positive and see that they outweigh the negatives. That does not mean the negatives don’t hurt; they absolutely do.

-Royfuss

I will make it through this, Digging deep; sinking in
I’m done with everything holding, holding me down
I will make it through this, There’s a time to die and a way to live
I’m not going out like this
– Nothing More, Tunnels

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