My word for 2021 was live. 2021 was supposed to be the year I remembered I was still alive. I started the year still living in fear of the unknown and ended the year remembering how important it is to make every moment count.
If we are friends, you know I have talked a lot the last few years about not living in fear. I have tried to focus on the good and joyful instead of being afraid of what could or would happen.
2020 threw me for a loop. Everywhere I looked, there was fear and death. It took a toll on me both physically and mentally. I spent two years making every moment count. Then in a few short weeks, was told that it was best for us to stay home and do nothing.
I had to put aside everything we planned and embrace a “new normal.” And normal consisted of staying close to home and not being around the people that we loved.
2020 was the year fear came back in. I allowed myself to worry about my decisions, my plans, and the long-term effects of my actions… it was also the year that I realized how much both the kids and I had lost when their dad died. 2020 was the year that I really forgot that I was still alive. The pain was truly heart-wrenching and we did not see an end in sight.
And then at the start of 2021, we lost my father-in-law. I got on a plane to Ohio with the kids and realized that a whole year of visits home had been cancelled because of fear. We had lost out on so many moments of sharing life with him because we were in fear of death. And I realized that I didn’t want 2021 to end the way 2020 did.
I woke up the morning we flew to Ohio and realized that I wanted my kids to know that we could be smart and still embrace living. We didn’t have to stay home alone and miss out on so many moments with loved ones.
So in 2021, we made 5 trips to visit our loved ones in Ohio; 5 trips to see my family in NC; and 2 trips to visit my grandparents in Maine. We took 2 extended road trips with my parents and took time to fly to see friends across the country. Our family stepped foot in over 30 states last year and visited one international country. We didn’t go everywhere we planned, but we did get to expand our horizons over the course of the last 12 months.
And in between trips we stayed close to home without any extracurriculars outside of church and school. We were safe, but we made every moment count. And the kids loved it. We found a normal in living again and embracing time with the people that we love, including each other.
We spend a lot of time talking about what we remember about their dad. They remember a trip to Disney with my parents and Ben when they were 2 & 4 years old. They remember going to the beach in NC with my family a few months before he died. Their memories consist of photos of moments spent together. And those same photos remind us of how he embraced every moment he had with them.
I know if Ben was here today, he would be living every moment to the fullest. He embraced life. He would jump on every opportunity to see the world (as safely as possible) while still living.
I do not fault anyone for choosing to stay in the bubble of protection close to home. But I have watched as countless friends have lost loved ones who did everything a certain way and they still got sick. I believe my husband did everything right and still got cancer.
I have spent countless hours worrying about my children losing another parent to sickness… but I know that our days are all numbered. And the truth is, I would worry whether I was sitting at home homeschooling or running all over town at every opportunity.
We can do everything right and still suffer pain and heartache. I pray every day for the health of me and the kids as we go about living, but I cannot stop living any more. Because I have learned when I sit still, I forget that I am still alive.
So 2021 was truly the year I remembered I am alive. I am thankful for every memory from this year. Grateful for every moment spent with the people we love. And I appreciate every treasured photo they will have to look back on many years from now.
I needed to live in 2021… and I pray that in 2022 we will be able to keep on living and embracing every moment. I want 2022 to be the year we do more than live…. I want it to be the year we thrive!!
**You may not agree with my sentiments in this post, but please know I respect your choices and do not fault you for them. Everyone has to make the choices they feel are best for their family. I just know we have already lost so much and I can’t allow us to lose the chance to live (safely) while we can!