Gah – don’t you just hate that …. the resolutions, the promises … the endless back-peddling? No?

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Well I could insert any one of a number of grievances here (and more than a hefty handful of expletives) – because, quite frankly, 2015 was a complete bitch of a year.  One of my worst, One I was more desperate than most to see the back of.  Shiny new pins sadly deflate things and the last ‘new year’ started very much as it continued.  I could harp on about my deeply disturbing and tragic losses – my grief at those that will never be overcome in my lifetime … I could choose to do that – I could sigh at the friendships that have fallen by the wayside,  because I haven’t had the time or energy to maintain them,  (Oh, I know I’ve been a shocking friend too, all wrapped up in my own personal hell,- but if you’d have made the effort to find out why – maybe you’d have understood …. or maybe I’m so slack that I’ve failed to learn that you’ve been going through your own living hell?  I know I’m not blameless and I’m sorry for that), I could remark at length at my weak and sorrowful moments, of which there have been many,  indeed I could wallow  for more than a moment in helpless self-pity (not unwarranted – though some may say a little dramatic even for me!) or I could take the lumpy, bumpy moral high ground and instead choose to tell you what I’ve learnt this year and what I have to feel good about….

I’ve learnt that love and friendship supersedes most things – or, at the very least, it most definitely helps.  Those squeezes in the playground – I can’t tell you quite how much they were needed at times, those frivolous texts that made me smile, those private facebook messages urging me to get a grip and reminding me that I’m not alone, those bum prints on my wall – where friends have sat a while with some words of wisdom or cheer, those cheeky tweets, the love hearts <3 the smiley faces – the pokes (does anyone even do that any more?)… Some of you and your little asides – don’t even realise how integral a part you’ve played in keeping my mental state buoyant (albeit just bobbing above the line of sanity this year).

I have a special little mention for my neighbours (& gaybours) because in the words of the rather popular 80′ TV programme of the same name (that I used to think was so absurd and far fetched in it’s content – until moving into our neighbourhood!) ‘Good neighbours’ really do ‘become good friends!’  Some would say it’s because we’re all of the same nutty assortment – and p’raps I’d be wrong to disagree.  Proximity or whatever threw us together – the camaraderie and kindliness of the same has not gone unnoticed. I’m glad our paths share the same footfall and our glasses frequently share the same few bottles!

I couldn’t be more grateful to those of a medical, supportive and nurturing disposition who have helped to get my son through the year, through one medical crisis and another … To our very own Archie’s Angels, without whom everyday life would be that little bit harder and my own sanity a whole lot more challenged.  To those nurses who took time to understand our situation and taught me to care for my own son, making us ever more self-sufficient and freeing up their time for more urgent matters, and a very special mention to Naz at the LGI who came to Archie’s rescue on two separate occasions this year and most definitely spared us both a 7th week of incarceration and a Christmas of hospital food!  Our heartfelt appreciation for stepping up where others feared or didn’t have the time to tread!  I can’t tell you quite how much we value your medical interventions this year!

Renewed friendships and family connections that have blossomed this year have made my Dad, my family and I very happy.  We’re looking forward to these getting stronger still in 2016.

There have been some amazing times this year too, mainly that have come about suddenly or unexpectedly.  A beautiful wedding of two lovely friends putting the Valentine love into February.  Birthday celebrations hailing my children older, wiser and giddier than ever and us grateful that landmarks have been reached and exceeded, albeit in the absence of loved ones.  Those plans that have been thwarted once, twice or even thrice …. but then gave way to one of the best nights ever.  Those simple girly afternoons that turned into something wonderful over afternoon tea, mocktails, cocktails, and laughter.  The heavenly spa day a friend and I managed to sneak under the radar to recoup a little ‘Tranquility’ footloose and child-free.  Those amazing things my children do that make me proud – from the smallest of hurdles to selfless gestures and big achievements…. I’m ridiculously thankful for all of those … and more – in the darkest of moments I’ve clung onto these.

So, all in all, in a piteously tough and mentally challenging year – where all vices have been pushed to the limit and normality backed in a corner – I’ve learned that it’s OK to be sad, it’s even better to share, that it’s great to help others (especially if this very selfishly makes you forget your own problems). I know that the littlest of gestures can sometimes make the biggest of differences and that true friends are worth their weight in gold. 

This year has seen a myriad of emotions and has left me an exhausted shell of my former self.  Good job I don’t give in easy and I’m pretty confident I’ll find my pzazz sometime in 2016 along with my sanity and my rapidly disappearing waistline!!

So, it’s probably of no surprise that after a lovely lunch and afternoon  playing games with friends, tea out with Dad and a few hours with the troops at a drinks party with good friends, I ended my year in bed early with a good book (laters), a couple of painkillers and a relatively clear head.  Number one child peacefully sleeping like a baby … the other two in bed but sniggering at the back catalogue of Shaun The Sheep episodes on YouTube and a husband vomiting in the  downstairs bathroom after having choked on a piece of foil from his Rennies packet ironically (though not so comically) lodged in his asthma inhaler!  I so could have used artistic license there and said ‘tinsel’ it might have sounded more aurally pleasing and seasonally appropriate – but not in this house!

Which only leaves me to say SAYONARA 2015 and may I extend my slightly trembling and well worn hand to 2016 – a year which I hope will bring us all health and wealth and all good things and to everyone this blog and my friendship touches may I wish you the same and let’s raise a glass (and a facial fold or two) to the HAPPINESS FACTOR and enjoying the ride.  Chin chin!


Heading into 2016 and feeling FIERCE

BRAVE (3)    S-J x

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