Usually, I'm one of those people who looks around at the end of a year everyone else has found horrendous, and apologetically says, "Well mine was rather good, actually". But nope, this year has pooped on my head too.
That's not to say it was all bad! It actually started off quite well!
Friends visited us...
..and we visited family and friends (and watched them get married <3):
But after that, well... things took a turn. Brexit happened. Trump happened. Countries turned their backs on innocent people needing help. Other innocent people died at the hands of those who would spread fear. People we've grown up with died (and so many so young!). Well, you all know the global horrors we've been through and thanks to having to caption the whole sorry mess every single day at work, I'm slightly world weary as we slip into 2017.
Things in our own smaller world took a tumble too. My parents were involved in a car crash in July - and it was a bad one. Dad was mercifully unscathed thanks to the airbags*. Mom was not so lucky, and spent nearly 4 weeks in a coma. It's amazing how one voicemail message instantly shows you exactly what living on the other side of the world means. We'd always comforted ourselves that if anything happened we were 'only' 24 hours away. But boy, that's the longest 24 hours you'll ever spend. I'd never been to an airport feeling nothing but dread before, never flown somewhere not happy to be going on a new adventure, never sat sobbing in Singapore as my friend insisted she was coming to meet me at 6am in the morning and drive home with me to face everything because people were worried about me driving alone. Never sat in a hospital, watching someone's life being held more in the machines around them than in their actual bodies. Never seen so many darn plug sockets to keep all those machines going! Never been to my parents' house before without my mom being there. Never been in her kitchen, with all the pots and pans and spoons and forks from my childhood**, and no-one to tell me where to find things, or what to do. But we got through it, with much help from family and friends, and I really learnt how wonderful and special support like that is - from kind words and thoughts, to coffee sent from my favourite place here, to all those people who've helped my dad get around and not kill himself from food poisoning!
* Or 'hairbags' as he likes to call them - one of the very few things that made me smile about the whole episode.
** I had a favourite teaspoon as a child. Seriously. And they've still got it!
More importantly, mom got through it all too. She's still in rehab, but wow - watching her get better has been amazing. I see a determination in her I kind of knew was there, but never expected to see so much of - she was scaring the nurses pulling herself up on the bed and trying to get off when she couldn't even walk! She's got straight back on the computer to re-teach herself, instructed my dad about all things household, insisted on still writing all of her Christmas cards and even made a Christmas cake for all the nurses! Fingers crossed, early next year she will be home again properly.
I guess from there, things could only get better! And they have, towards the end of the year. We made a promise to ourselves to get out there and do 'stuff' this summer - and we have been doing. I'll post more about some wonderful summer December* weekends soon!
* December = summer. Still can't get used to that 3 years on!
And Jan turned 40! Again, a whole other blog on that, but suffice to say, he's still lookin' mighty good:
For now I'll just say... TFI 2017!
For all of us who've had a tough 2016 (and also for those quietly saying "actually mine was rather good"), may 2016 be like this ice sculpture and slowly melt away into a misshapen lump that no-one will remember - and may 2017 prove to be the year we all win the lottery* and live happily ever after!
* We actually have won the lottery already this year! And we'll be getting the best bottle of vino $14 can buy...