2013 was a year of loss. Some were anticipated. Others arrived unexpected.
The year started off with the sudden sadness of Josh's grandmother's death in January. This past Christmas her loss was felt once again more acutely. Then Josh's grandmother died as well, about a month later. We were so glad we were able to see her a week before her passing. Then came my uncle's unexpected heart attack in the summer. And Josh's grandfather died in the fall. They draped his coffin with the American flag and played Taps. The boys asked why and I told them.
"So you mean Great-grandpa was in a war and his team won?" Owen asked. "He fought to make our world safe?"
"Yes," I say. At least for a while, I think, knowing such safety is but a mirage.
Four deaths. Josh's three grandparents gone all in one year.
In April we left the church I'd been attending for fourteen years. For Josh it was the church he'd grown up in. While we still see those we're closest to from our old church, there are many people that we just don't cross paths with anymore who are still dear to us. This sort of change involves loss too.
In early June we moved to our new home. We said good-bye to our first home and the place where all our babies came home. Good-byes to neighbors we came to love.
Death. Change. Moving. Things shift. The loss was sad and painful, some more than others. Loss brings something to an end. But with loss comes the beginning of something new.
2013 was a year of new beginnings.
With my uncle's death came meeting my cousins for the first time since I was a child. We've all linked up through social media and I hope the funeral won't be the last time I see them.
We've been attending a new church that we're just starting to get active in. It's been a good change for us in many ways and part of the good has been that it's closer to us and more apart of the community we now live in.
Obviously, moving was a HUGE blessing to us. We love our new home and all it allows us to do things that the other house restrained us from. We can now host bigger gatherings, the guest room allows for family and friends to more comfortably visit us, and it has space inside and out for the kids to run and play. We didn't move incredibly far from our old home. Basically two towns over. But I was worried at first that with changing churches at the same time we'd experience some isolation from being farther "out." But it's been neat that I actually feel like I've experienced more community, not less. Three other families that we've known for years live about 8 miles from us and we all go to the same homeschool community. Plus we get together each Friday to spend the afternoon doing science experiments together. It's been so fun to see the relationships of the kids bond together as we run back and forth from each other's houses, since they see each other about twice a week. And once a month we do a pizza dinner altogether. Even though we're more out in the country, ironically, I've never been such a short drive to so many friends' homes.
Good-bye 2013. Welcome 2014.