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What a roller coaster of a year! It started off very badly indeed, with my Mom in and out of the hospital and her general health deteriorating very quickly till final on March 3 she passed away.

Then started another very dark period for me. I was inconsolable and was struggling, as I felt overwhelmed by my grief and loneliness. The first few weeks were so dark I can hardly remember them as individual days, just one long oppressive night.

What started me on my journey for the rest of the year was the advent of Easter. I had to break the mold. I had to force myself, with the help of my cousins, to break out and start interacting with the world again. That was the start. Easter.

Then I went on a four-day visit to my brother and his family in Gouna. That helped a great deal. There is nothing to heal a wounded spirit like the care of blood relatives. Those four days made a world of difference to my ability to start coping and start living again.

Before going to Gouna I had booked a cruise to Luxor and Aswan, but before going on that cruise, pure chance, in the form of meeting an acquaintance whose dog had given birth to some puppies, and she invited me to look. I did, and I fell in love on the spot.

The following step was a deliberate one on my part. I pushed myself and went on a “Writers Course” on a cruise to Luxor and Aswan. This pushed me further out of myself and into a new world. When I came back I had something to look forward to. My new puppies.

These puppies turned out to be a Godsend. They might have single-handedly saved my sanity. They took up a great deal of my time and my energy, and all the love I had to give. They really became my babies as I used to call them, and when Petra joined them, my cup had “runneth over”.

In spring I started becoming more aware of the world around me, the beauty of nature at first hurt a great deal, but slowly it started healing my soul. Beauty is another aspect of love. Here I was, falling in love all over again either the amazing sunsets, the flowers, trees, light reflected off the water, the colors, the breeze, the sunshine and every aspect of nature.

Another step towards coming back to life was in starting renovations and maintenance of the house. A practical, pragmatic step, full of minor frustrations and major expenditure, but which turned to be just as important as any of my other steps in bringing me back to life. While all this was going on in the physical world, I kept going in and out of my grief in my spiritual world. But my times of grief were getting shorter, though still very intense, while my times of respite were getting longer and starting to get stronger.

By autumn I had fallen into a kind of routine which had come on completely automatically. There was no deliberation on my part. No plan. But a pattern emerged of my life that left me more comfortable, and strangely enough, more liberated, both in time and thought.

This nostalgic trip was brought on by reading and sharing on Facebook one of those common sayings that we see everywhere, but this one strongly resonated with me. It very simply stated, “I am definitely not the same person I was when this year started”. This is so true in my case, I started re-living the past year and taking a deep look at what I had been through and what kind of person I have become.

I now know without a doubt that I am capable of surviving in this world. I have been through the wringer and have come out a much stronger person. I might not be as kind and giving as I was, I tend to be a little more selfish and value my comfort and my needs above all else. I had built my life around my Mom and her needs and now that she is no longer there I feel that it is now my time. I am less tolerant of people who, with their problems and depressions inadvertently bring me down. I seem to have subconsciously decided that I am now number one in my life. I shall do all I can to ensure my comfort, my security and my happiness. If this means cutting out people who bring me down, so be it.

Strangely enough this attitude seemed to have made me more attractive to others. Confidence and happiness are very powerful magnets. I never realized how strong. But now, even with casual encounters I seem to project that feeling that makes others truly want to help, want to join me in whatever enterprise I am on.  A great feeling of harmony with the world, and even if there is conflict, it is not one that tears at me, but one that enforces my feeling of doing what is right for me and got others.

Have I changed from last year? Yes. Definitely. Though I honestly believe that what I have become had always been there, but dormant, waiting for a catalyst to bring it all to the surface. People don’t really change; they just show more of what they really are, when given the chance.

I am now on a very exciting journey and am so looking forward to what new aspect of myself will be revealed to me next year. Welcome 2015, May you be kinder to me than your departing sister.

25 Dec 2014