I think it was in summer of 2014 when I wrote in a personal journal that I had a strong feeling that 2016 would be a year of changes. Specifically I'd said it would be the year that would herald the beginning of our golden years. In my mind, I had heard "the end of the old, the beginning of the new".
And it has proven true in so many ways.
I think this has been almost universally true, actually, as others in my own circle as well as others in the news have said as much about their own circumstances this year.
For us, it has come in several forms.
Most recently, we had to say goodbye to our beloved kitty, Ariel. She was a black cat, a standard domestic short hair, but so much a part of our family it was almost inconceivable that she would ever not be. But since last fall she had been on the decline. Her liver began acting up, so we tried to treat that - which caused her to go into kidney failure. So we discontinued that treatment, but then her thyroid became hyperactive. There was no treatment for that; nothing she could have handled. She did not tolerate the medicine, she wouldn't survive radiation or surgery. So we had to watch as she became thinner and thinner, ultimately bottoming out at just under 5 pounds. A mere whisper of her former self. We had an in-home pet service come and administer her final dose of sleepy medicine, and send her off to cross the rainbow bridge. Jackie held her as she left us. We all cried - it was the worst kind of grief. It did not help that we had said goodbye to her so many times in the days before. It did not help that we knew she'd be better off, that she'd jump into Jesus' arms right away, that she'd finally be free of pain and suffering. We lost our child, essentially.
At the same time, I've been reeling from huge losses at work. The company announced a huge, sweeping, deep cut of its workforce. At the time of the announcement, many employees were walked out of the building immediately. Another large set were offered separation packages. Most of the people that I had worked along side for 17 years were suddenly not there any more. And the announcements continued: new procedures, new employees moving in from sites that had been closed, new organizational structure. The company that I started at years ago is no more. The vision is gone, the devotion to progress and innovation is tossed aside in favor of commodity thinking and bean counting.
Smaller things: my in-laws found themselves unable to afford their custom home, and had to make the decision to move to a smaller house in a nearby neighborhood. Gone is the beautiful view, the wide spaces, the unhindered proximity to the beautiful Wallowa mountains. We got a new kitty: a little spitfire tuxedo cat who's a sweetie and who seems to be picking up the collective cat consciousness and is handily taking up where her predecessor left off: tearing paper, attacking ankles and eating like a hog. Michael is going to middle school this year, and we're hopeful he can make a fresh start with a new student body; he's going to an exploratory option school where it's a good chance that most of the kids he knew from Rock Creek - particularly the bullies - will not be around to pick on him. We're hoping he can learn and grow in a fresh environment, and thrive.
Life goes on. And since this year, it will never be the same as it was. The old is gone, the new is here.