I can distinctly remember standing at our firepit on December 31, 2017, looking up to the heavens and being genuinely exhausted at everything we had been through that year.
My grandparents died within 36 hours of each other.
Then my beloved Talladega passed away a few months later.
All three stores we had booths in closed because of the economy which drastically affected our income.
We survived a winter tornado around my milestone birthday.
Then we had to ride out a hurricane at home in early fall because the storm was projected to pass over the entire state, including our hurricane safe house, Loblolly Manor.
Days after the storm passed, my uncle passed away.
A few weeks later our sweet dog Filbie started having seizures.
It was literally hit after hit after hit.
And because the hits came so quickly and so close together, I wound up burying all the grief.
I just couldn’t process it fast enough.
As you can imagine delaying the entanglements of grief caused a completely different set of challenges.
I became a major stress eater, completely lacked any motivation to work out and I struggled with bouts of insomnia for months which made me feel like I was walking around in a fog.
Truthfully, there were times during that year I wondered if I would ever feel a sense of normalcy again.
Late last week as I watched the coverage of the snowstorms across the country, the devastation in Texas and participated in the moment of silence as the nation marked over 500, 000 deaths related to Covid-19, it immediately brought me back to that night in December when I was physically, spiritually, and emotionally exhausted from what seemed like the longest year ever.
I know some of you are in a season where it feels like the hits just keep coming and things will never feel right again.
To be sure, reconstructing a new life and embracing a new future takes time, and sometimes the steps forward feel like baby steps.
You are absolutely worth the effort though, so keep going.
Four years on, I can say things get better.
While every day might not feel like a good day, there are still good things to be found if we look hard enough.
After all, the most beautiful stars can be found on the darkest nights.
With love and grace,