What is there to say about 2017?
It was the year I got married to the love of my life, in a wedding I had dreamed of as a little girl, down to the yellow bridesmaids dresses and flowers. We spent a few days in a cabin just hanging out with our best friends before the wedding, eating, and drinking, and playing games, and dancing, and laughing until tears streamed from our eyes. The morning of the wedding I woke up calm and happy, and I knew without a doubt that I would not regret marrying such an amazing man. I walked down the aisle with my dad to my favorite Beatles song, Here Comes the Sun, holding a bouquet made painstakingly perfect of Harry Potter pages by the best Matron of Honor a girl could ever hope for. There were a few beloved friends and family who were unable to make it, but as I looked out in the crowd at all the people who loved us so much, my heart was filled with joy. After the ceremony, the night passed much too quickly as we danced foolishly, laughed and cried at the amazing toasts from our best friends, and tried to squeeze in as many hugs, photos, and bites of dinner as we could manage. The skies blessed our wedding by opening up into a downpour, but we just laughed and kept dancing as the lights and music flickered off and back on. We ended our perfect wedding with a perfect 4 days in paradise, and I thought, this is going to be the best year of my life so far.
17 has always been a paradox for me though, as I’ve considered it my “lucky” number for as long as I can remember, but it has brought me as much pain throughout the years as it has joy. This year was no different, and the elation from our nuptials turned soon to anguish when we heard the news that my 15 year-old cousin, who I had laughed and danced with at my wedding only months prior, had tragically and unexpectedly taken his own life. I have lost loved ones before, but nothing I had ever been through had prepared me for this. Eddie lit up every room he ever walked into, his smile was infectious, and he had always seemed wise beyond his years. He was so happy and proud when I asked him and his brother to be ushers at the wedding, and he took his duty very seriously. Nearly everyone from my wedding remembered how charming and friendly he was, never acting too shy or too cool to engage anyone around him in conversation. The utter shock and disbelief I experienced when I received that phone call from my mom telling me what had happened will be forever burned into my brain. There’s always a level of guilt I believe we experience when someone we love passes, but this time for me it was nearly unbearable. How had we not known something was wrong? What could we have done differently? Why didn’t I take more time to talk to him at my wedding, or call him more often? These questions haunted me over the next few weeks as I cried myself to sleep, feeling not only guilty but distraught for my aunt and uncle, Eddie’s brother, and my Grandma, who surely walked past Eddie’s room every day with the same relentless thoughts I was having.
Tragedy always has that funny way of bringing people together though, and since Eddie’s death my family, though we’ve always been close, is closer than ever. I flew down for the memorial service, and although many tears were shed, many laughs were shared as well. No one would have blamed my aunt and uncle if they had completely crumbled, but they remained incredibly strong despite the circumstances, and ultimately reminded the rest of us that during his life, Eddie had been nurtured, supported, and surrounded by unconditional love, and that some souls are simply too pure for this world. There is no doubt Eddie would only want the best for all of us, and slowly but surely we all gave ourselves permission to start healing. In December, my family came down to San Antonio for a weekend of honoring my beloved cousin. My Grandma and I each got memorial tattoos, and then my husband, uncle, cousin, grandma, moms, and I all went to watch a performance by one of Eddie’s favorite bands, Alter Bridge. As they closed the show with a song that they said they didn’t usually play live, “In Loving Memory”, we could feel Eddie with us distinctly, and there was not a dry eye in our row.
2017 had the ups and downs of normal years as well. It was my first full year at Partners In Building, and despite the anxiety that accompanied walking away from a product that brought me security and prosperity over the past 7 years and entering into the whole new world of luxury real estate, I had a very successful and fulfilling professional year, as did Chris with his new company. But on the flip side, there was also a giant hurricane that ripped through my home city and brought devastation and destruction. Houston, however, never one to be brought down for long, went on to secure its first World Series win, and bounce back stronger than ever.
There were many great films that came out in 2017 (Dunkirk, The Disaster Artist, Blade Runner 2049, Lady Bird, Get Out, Three Billboards, John Wick 2, Logan Lucky, Star Wars, just to name a few), as well as a long-awaited album from my all-time favorite artist, Eminem.
It was also the year my favorite actor in the entire world was outed as a sexual predator.
BUT it was a great year for Kung Fu, and I passed my red sash test, gained some awesome new brothers, and got the training bag I really wanted for Christmas.
Yet, it was also the most violently opposing political year I had ever witnessed, and we all watched in horror as friends and families became divided over issues that were so much less important than their love for each other.
It was also the year that one of our best friends gave birth to a perfect new baby boy, and seeing the look on her face as she looked at him washed away all of the ugliness in the world at that very moment.
2017 somehow felt like a landmark year for blessings and tragedy, love and loss. Even with the pain, I am grateful for the journey, and I look forward to seeing what the new year will bring.
Happy New Year’s Eve, I love you all.