December 31, 2015

One Word for 2016


I am astonished to find that it has been three weeks since I last wrote. In my mind, it had only been since the kids started their holiday break -- two weeks at the most.

I totally didn't mean to do that.

Everything is OK here; no need to worry. I mean, as OK as it gets for us. I am happy to report that we've welcomed Mark's mother and sister as permanent residents of Washington -- finally! And we had a very nice Christmas.

But today is New Year's Eve and as it has approached I've been pondering what my One Word for 2016 ought to be....

More on that in a minute.

First, I need to look back at my word for 2015: Resolve.

Turns out -- as it always does -- Resolve was exactly the word I needed to help guide me through this year, as I navigated the muddy waters of spousal caregiving.

There were times that my resolve to push on and do the things I must faltered. Times that I had doubts in my abilities, doubts in my strength and even hopelessness. But when the negative thoughts and feelings crept in, I would remember "Resolve" and it would help steel me. I would tell myself, nope, stop thinking like that because you are resolved to this and you can do it.

Thus, I am Resolved. Mark needs me. My kids need me. One day I will wear this experience as a badge of honor.

That is not to say that the word "resolve" has led me to the magic formula for caregiving success. I am still stressed and worried all the bloody time. There are still moments of hopelessness and feelings of defeat.

Which leads me to what my word for 2016 needs to be: Genuine.

Or, as my BFF and fellow Jennifer says: "Jen-uine".

Because there is something I've noticed about myself. As I've worked on my resolve, I've closed up my heart a bit. It is evidenced in my more infrequent writing here, and that what I do write feels sugar-coated so as not to scare anyone away. I never thought I would do that. Maybe it hasn't been so much about not scaring you away from reading, but rather so as not to scare me.

Because, dammit, I'm resolved!

But I want to be Genuine too.

I'm here with this blog, writing about my life's journey. A big part of that journey is my husband's poor health and being his primary caregiver. I've been looking, and it appears to me that there are not a lot of spousal caregivers blogging their way through it. Either that or they're much older than Mark and I and/or dealing with different illnesses.

This makes me feel a sense of obligation to be real about being a spousal caregiver and how it affects our whole lives. How Mark's health problems affect our children and other loved ones.

I'm not saying I want everything I write to be about chronic illness and caregiving. But when I do write about it, I want to take the gloves off, stick my heart back out there on my sleeve, and be very honest about it.

To that end, my One Word for 2016 will be Genuine.

My hope is that this will be beneficial to both me and others.

Here are 10 of my most honest posts of 2015:
  1. One Word for 2015
  2. I Promise
  3. Salvaging the Broken Pieces
  4. An Inventory of Feelings
  5. 10 Things That Piss Me Off About Chronic Illness and Caregiving
  6. I'm Still Lucky
  7. I Don't Think I'm Doing it Right
  8. Some Things Just Are What They Are
  9. An Awful, Negative and Ranty Post
  10. I Don't Want to Talk About It

Are you choosing a word for the coming year?

Sharing with the Finish the Sentence Friday link-up :-)

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