It’s coming to the end of the year. This has been a tough one in my family. My mom’s Alzheimer’s disease has taken a huge toll on her this year. The occasional glimpses of recognition and the “I love yous’ are quite rare now and will eventually fade, but those moments…they are golden. They are cherished. They are locked in my heart forever.
As her health declined, I was reminded this fall that I can’t do everything, and that I must make choices. At the beginning, I fought it. Hard. But I just lost sleep and struggled and eventually lost the battle. Luckily, I have amazing people in my life who set me straight. And the truth is, the decisions became much easier when I realized what the choices were. So, I stopped writing for 3 months to help take care of mom and to recharge and to re-align my life. It was a good decision. And I was blessed even as I took a writing break because my tenth novel, Christmas Justice, seemed to strike a chord in readers. Little Molly and her aunt Laurel and Garrett Galloway wormed their way into the hearts of readers. I’m so grateful and thankful for that.
So, despite the strange grieving process my family still battles while Alzheimer’s steals my mother away from us, there were moments of joy. I’ve found the stories again after filling up the well, and this makes me happy. My mom would be glad as well. She was my biggest cheerleader in this crazy writing journey I’m traveling. She showed me that a woman can have a spine of steel and still love with the fierceness of a mama bear.
So, a new year is starting. Not that the challenges and despair are going away, but a new year is a chance to shake off the old and to start again. It’s not the problems that beat us down, it’s how we handle them. Will this year be hard? I imagine achingly so. But my mom taught me what’s important. If I do what she would have done, I’ll be okay.
So, this year, I’m invoking Taylor’s Swift’s new song. I love the beat, the message and the idea. And as long as I listen to my heart and my mom’s lessons, shaking the rest off will come.
My hope for you is that you remember what’s important and act on it. Because you never know when the chance may be stolen away.