Reflections on 2015…

My post is rather late considering we’ve sailed into 2016 already; however I can’t help but reflect on the latter year and everything that transpired.

2015 began full of promise, I’d recovered nicely from a double bunionectomy, celebrated my fifth year of sobriety, was looking forward to getting back to work and exercising again. I put up my resolutions and had to admit some of them sounded far-fetched, but heck I was full of ambition and believed anything was possible with hard work and good planning.

All was going well until I’d received news in February that my Dad had suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to hospital. From this point on, my life turned upside down as I boarded an emotional rollercoaster ride. I travelled to Pretoria every weekend to visit him, hoping and praying for a miracle. He didn’t make it and passed away on the 19th of March 2015. I couldn’t be with him when he left and it’s something I regret dearly. His funeral was the toughest day I’ve encountered, saying goodbye to a loved one broke my heart and shook me to the core.

Returning home I was overwhelmed with grief. I battled to find normalcy, couldn’t write, didn’t enjoy exercising and needed time and space to accept reality. It took a few months before I emerged from the shadows, taking back the reins of my life, one day at a time.

Then we received news that Neil’s granny had passed away at the age of 87 in Pretoria. Her health had waned for some time and there wasn’t much they could do for her. As she’s of muslim faith, she was buried the same day and Neil didn’t have a chance to say goodbye. Her departure affected him badly as she’d helped raise him and he was very fond of her. I tried to comfort him the best I could, with the knowledge that grief is a personal journey and only time can mend a broken heart.

I returned to running in May after a sojourn of six months. I kind of thought I could pick up where I’d left off and immediately packed on the kilometres and training, running my first 10km race within a month! I continued to train and run more races, setting my sights on a 21km race in October. The warning bells were screaming, I was taking strain and before long I was struck down with injury. I had to pull out of the race and couldn’t accept that I’d pushed too fast, didn’t listen to my body and placed myself in this predicament.

I was also turning 40 this year. With everything going south in my life, I contemplated whether I ought to celebrate this milestone. Then I recalled a conversation I had with my Dad before his illness, and how he’d joked about my age and enquired how I was going to spend it. I knew that I wanted to do something special; however I didn’t know exactly what that was at the time. The more I thought of it, the idea of throwing a party surfaced. I love music and dancing and wanted to combine these elements to create a club party in the confines of my home (with a DJ on the decks)! And so the planning unfolded and I enlisted the assistance of my creative friend, Candice Sonnenberg to brainstorm ideas and set the wheels in motion. What I learnt from planning such an event is that as much as you wish for a perfect party, things go horribly wrong on the day and you have to go with the flow and smile through it – even though I wanted to throttle the DJ for not sticking to the playlist!

Neil and I marked 20 years of marriage on 13 December 2015 and I wanted it to be a momentous occasion, one that would stay with us for the rest of our lives. I wished to renew our vows, but Neil wasn’t playing along and I had a tough time trying to convince him otherwise. I persevered though, roping in Candice to assist with the photography and a friend from work to officiate the ceremony. Even though Neil had reservations, he pulled though on the day and enjoyed himself to the fullest. The idea and planning came together in the span of a month and I was incredibly grateful that we had the opportunity to tie the knot again in a beautiful beach setting with my family by my side and love all around.

2015 was a mixed bag of emotions for me. I didn’t expect to lose my Dad in such a short space of time and I wasn’t prepared in the least. Every day without him reminds me how precious life is and how we sometimes don’t get a second chance to make things right. It’s taught me to seize every moment, to celebrate milestones like there’s no tomorrow and create a truck load of memories along the way.

To those who lost a loved one recently, my heart goes out to you. I hope your pain eases in time and you find your way back, albeit slightly changed. I hope and pray 2016 will be kinder to us all.

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