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Goodbye and Good Riddance 2016

I know, I know. Everyone is saying how 2016 was a bad year and they can’t wait for it to be over, blah blah blah. ‘Suck it up buttercup,” is usually my go-to thought on this. That is, unless you’ve experienced a great loss.

Like most humans who inhabit this earth, at the age of 42, I’ve had both good and bad years. I’ve always been able to look at the challenging ones as opportunities for learning and growing, and I’ve always made it my personal mission to work my butt off to overcome the challenges. In other words, I make insane efforts not to allow excuses to infiltrate my vocabulary.

But 2016 had it in for me from the beginning. This February I experienced the loss of my big brother, Gene, who was my only sibling and my biggest mentor. And it has been excruciating.

I’m really good at dusting myself off and picking up the pieces, which is something he taught me when we were kids. However, this one is a real gut kicker to get over. In fact, I know that I will never get over this. I will simply learn to better deal with it and to hopefully look back on our memories with gratitude and comfort instead of pain.

Even writing this post I am struggling to hold back the tears, which is a game I haven’t yet mastered. I’m pretty tough about getting weepy, especially in public. This, however, has turned out to be my emotional Kryptonite.

Frankly, I don’t care if I seem weak or highly emotional. I know I’m not. But we all have that one thing that deeply rattles us and makes us question every single thing in the cosmos. Losing Gene has been this for me.

We didn’t talk every day or every week or even every month. We were both so busy chasing our dreams of success that we usually just called on birthdays and holidays or during a crisis. That was enough for us. We had our bonds. We were each other’s testament to our childhood. When we talked, we rapidly caught up on each other’s lives, cracked unsavory jokes, made fun of each other and everyone we knew, and all was good.

I still can’t really put into words what an impact he made on me aside from being my big brother. He was my hero and the person I most wanted to impress. I’m not even sure if being an entrepreneur was my idea. I’m almost certain it was his and I just followed along as I always did, trying to keep up with him, trying to impress him.

Then, because 2016 couldn’t leave me be, I lost my little doxy, Sweety, who had been with us ever since my now 26 year-old son was 10. She had a great run, and we had so many wonderful memories, but it was still a loss and one that was and still is felt deeply.

Still, 2016 wasn’t finished with the torture. On top of all the death, including several acquaintances who also lost loved ones too young, it also wreaked havoc on our family, as death sometimes does. Toxic folks gravitated toward the negative energy and jumped on board the snowball of toxicity, helping to build it into a massive force of misery. There were several more losses that were not death, but I am neither a saint nor a psychologist and can’t expend energy trying to “fix” other people. I can only control and focus on my journey and the type of human being I aim to be.

The best way I can explain this past year is that I felt as if I was forced to say “goodbye” to my previous life. The life that contained some of my loves.

Some folks say it is a year of transition, but I’m going to call it what it is. The year 2016 was a craptastic year where everything went wrong and too much loss abounded, and I hated it with my entire being.

So yeah, I say good riddance to 2016.

Hasta la vista.

Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Although if it did, I’d be really happy about that.

I am looking to 2017 as a year of hope and healing, and I wish that for everyone who has experienced a loss in the past year. May you be able to say goodbye and good riddance as well. And may you be able to focus on slaying your dragons.

I know I woke up today, January 1, 2017 at 5:30 AM, sword in hand.

Come at me 2017!

36 Responses

  1. I’m so sorry for the loss of your only brother. What you have described is the same kind of relationship I have with my only brother (He is 9 years younger than me), yet I cannot imagine a world where he does not exist. 2016 took away a close family friend as well so I understand the feeling.

  2. I would like to say I am sorry for the loss of your brother. I liked how you express your feelings about your brother, that is always a good start with healing. The year 2016 was not my year, as a single mom I came across a lot of bumps, twist, and turns. There were times I wanted to give up but I couldn’t because of my children. So now I am starting new and letting go of what was and looking forward to the good.

  3. Sounds like it was indeed a hard year for you and your family. I hope this year is better and I’m sorry for your loss! We lost my uncle in October 2015, and while he wasn’t the first person I loved who I lost, his death hit me the hardest and I know how emotional it is. I still get teary eyed thinking about him and his not being here. Also, sorry for the loss of your dog. Our furbabies hold special places in our hearts and that’s something hard to deal with.

  4. I. Love. This. Post. Seriously, 2016 sucked for me too, in more ways than I can count. I didn’t lose anyone to death (and I’m sorry to see you lost your brother) but I too lost so many things in my life that made it what it was. Some for the better, others for the worse, but all with a strong and lasting impact.

    Here’s to new hope in this new year, and all the potential one could ask for.

  5. I’m sorry you had to go through that. I think we’ve all had a challenging year last year and I’m so glad that we’re welcoming the new year. It’s a fresh start and we have a new energy to face whatever the new year will throw at us.

  6. What a ride of a year. Wins and loses but we are still managing to keep moving forward. May 2017 be an unforgettable one filled with joy, peace, and abundance!

  7. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. I can’t imagine I would be devastated. 2017 will be an amazing year and I am looking forward to following your journey!

  8. I really like your message here. When you have had a loss, it is nice to look to a new year as a fresh start. However, we must always remember what we learned from the previous year. It is what makes us who we are.


  9. I’m so sorry to hear about the losses you suffered this past year. I had a similar year of loss in 2012 so I know how difficult it can be. I hope 2017 brings you joy and healing!

  10. Last year was tough for us all, some found strength through the tragedies while others felt lost for a bit. I know because we lost my uncle two weeks before Thanksgiving. It was one of the toughest things my family — especially his wife — has ever dealt with.

    May the new year bring you joy and inner peace.

  11. 2016 was rough, it was a roller coaster of emotions and challenges! I think it’s great that we’re welcoming the new year. I’m looking forward to more positivity this year.

  12. I hope this coming February will be a stark contrast to what happened last year. The door hitting you at the back means that you just went through it!

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. I can understand lost both physically and mentally. 2016 was an interesting year for me but I definitely could wait for 2017 my son wil be two in November yikes

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