2016 In My Rear View Mirror


When I think about 2016, I see myself rolling uncontrollably down a hill picking up stones and landing in a pile of leaves where everything subsequently sticks to me and I am bruised and battered beyond recognition. It has been a very long and extremely tough year for me.

Very unexpectedly this summer, I lost two wonderful, kind, loving men whom I shared a good portion of my life with. And in December, over a period of 24 hours, I lost my favorite Aunt, a childhood friend and one of my children's fathers best friends.

The loss of the two men was especially painful. One was the beloved father of my children and the other, an amazing friend from my hometown whom I secretly adored from the moment I met him. Both of them were a big part of my life’s journey and both filled me with happy memories and so much joy! The saving grace in all of these losses is that I know they are in a better place, they are finally at peace, no longer in pain and suffering and they are still very much alive in my heart and in the hearts of my children…

Additionally, I suffered a humiliating betrayal by someone whom I loved deeply. I can tell you that when trust has been dishonored and broken, “sorry” means nothing! When countless lies have been told, like most of us, I’ve looked at the “I’m sorry” and wondered if it was genuine or merely offered up as a result of being caught? As if the lies and betrayal weren’t enough, the passive/aggressive narcissistic behavior which followed was cruel and oppressive punishment to my emotional and physical being. Like all narcissists, they are masters at deflecting, never admit to wrong doing, and manipulate any situation they have architected by effecting their sick sense of justice by doing their best to destroy someone else. When they realize they can no longer control you, they feed misinformation about you to others to make you appear like the sick, crazy, nasty person! Suddenly, they are the victims…The emotional abuse almost did me in!

Grieving the loss of loved ones is a process I am all too familiar with. I’ve experienced more than my fair share of loss during my life. However, nothing has been as excruciating as grieving the loss of a person whom I thought I knew so well that is still alive! Some things in life cannot be fixed! They can only be carried. If you’ve faced a tragedy and someone tells you in any way that your tragedy was meant to be, happened for a reason, will make you a better person, or that taking responsibility will fix it, you have every right, to remove them from your life! Do it.

Yes, devastation can lead to growth, but it often doesn’t. It often destroys lives – in part, because we have replaced the right to grieve with advise. With platitudes. Grief is brutally painful and grief not only occurs when someone dies. When relationships fall apart, you grieve. When opportunities are shattered, you grieve. When illnesses wreck your body, you grieve. Losing a spouse cannot be fixed. Being diagnosed with a debilitating illness cannot be fixed. Facing the betrayal of your closest confidant cannot be fixed...These things can only be carried.

While there have been moments of joy during the year, there have been overwhelming periods of complete sadness, anger, depression, shame, sleepless nights, and grief. I have wallowed in self-doubt, self-loathing and self-pity. I’ve spent the better part of the year in therapy learning how to come to terms with the betrayal, accepting the realization that it was not my fault, and deciding to love and forgive.. Forgiveness not for the actions of the person who perpetrated such hurt to my soul, but forgiveness because I did not want their actions to destroy me. It has been hard! My business associates, my friends and myself were harassed and cyber stalked by the perpetrator’s partner in the betrayal for over 6 months. It is an experience that I would not wish on my worst enemy! I’ve been to hell and back but I will not allow it to destroy me! I will not give these toxic human beings the power it takes to keep me from arising from the ashes and coming out a stronger more enlightened woman with an open heart….

As I share this with you, I am slowly putting one foot in front of the other. Slowly reclaiming my joy and my self- confidence. I live an extraordinary life. I’ve been deeply blessed by the opportunities I’ve had and the very unconventional life I’ve built for myself. But loss has not in and of itself made me a better person. In fact, in some ways it has hardened me. Loss has made me acutely aware and empathetic to the pains of others, it’s also made me more inclined to hide. I have a much more cynical view of human nature and a greater impatience with people who are unfamiliar with what loss does to people.

I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve learned that all I had to do was simply acknowledge my pain and just “be with it.” I’ve learned that I am capable of carrying it! I learned that things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or think they should and that things go wrong and don ‘t always get fixed or put back together the way they were before. Some things that are broken, stay broken and you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones as long as you have a good therapist and people who love you!

I am so very, very, thankful for the people who truly love me. Those who matter, those who are my tribe and know what has transpired over the last year, I Thank You…Thank you for loving me, for supporting me, for encouraging me, for allowing me to cry, to hate, to pitch a hissy fit, and to slowly, in my own way, come to terms with my losses and grief! Thank you for not offering advice and platitudes, thank you for not trying to fix it, most of all, thank you for just being there for me!

I will be glad to put 2016 behind me. I am letting go of the hurts, the betrayls, the sorrow and grief and I am moving forward. I am putting them behind me and I refuse to pick them back up! I am a survivor! I am looking forward to 2017 with new eyes, new hope, new confidence and courage, new determination. The ultimate lesson I have learned in this last year is that time does not heal all wounds..... but it does give us the tools to endure them and move forward. HAPPY NEW YEAR and

Much Love To You in 2017

Toni


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