good riddance, 2016

If you’ve read my previous end-of-year entries on this blog you know I’m not really invested in New Years as a holiday or celebration. Yet every year I end up being sorta swept up in the feelings other share. People mark this as an end and a beginning, a time-stamp of where we’ve been and where we’re going. I get it.

For what it’s worth I’ve never felt so strongly about finishing a time frame as I am with 2016. Every year has it’s ups and downs, like hearing folks we revere passed away, and watching events that leave us short-breathed in agony or awestruck with senseless wonder.

We are the sum of all these shared moments and more, in my case none so more than losing my mom. She passed away from stage IV cancer at the end of February, somewhere around three months after her diagnosis. My entire year orbited around this sudden void in my life.

Her name was Carol. She was my original fountain of inspiration, moral certitude, and anchor against all the waves of darkness that came early and often. We had survived the death of my father when I was three. She remained a widowed mother of two and went back to school to become a phenomenal teacher. I grew up watching her plant yard signs for AIDS awareness when people around us considered it a social disease, and advocate for LGBT equality when the barest notion of such was nearly universally reviled. She vehemently opposed racism, both from individuals and the structures that perpetuate it. She organized around ending homelessness and food insecurity. No one, no matter their character, deserved hunger or the lack of safe shelter. She was stubborn. She got cranky when things didn’t work, and sometimes still even when they did. Her laugh was deep. She was a fiercely private person, and just as fiercely a loyal friend. She loved the movies. She loved her family. She believed in unconditional love. She was so much more. She was my mom.

These are the waters I’m wading through even before I step through the front door, and that world outside is a whole other big sea of awful among islands of preciousness. I’m still here for that but more relevantly so is this space I’ve created for myself these past five and half years. The writing, which so encouraged my mom, still exists. I can be pretty stubborn too. It’ll be here for what’s to come, for both the victories and setbacks. I’m ready to wrest what hope can be derived in the solidarity of facing the future together.

Best to you and yours. Good riddance, 2016.

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