End of the Year Posts

For the end of the year, I’ve planned three posts. One post, that happens to be for today, focuses on the OLW I picked for 2021 and how it served me to keep this word in my mind. Another post will be on my blog stats for the year. It has been another year of growth for my blog and in many ways the best year ever for my writing. The other post that has been planned is a book review of some of the books, both those I enjoyed and those I did not, I read in 2021 and whether or not I met my reading goal. As any writer knows, reading veraciously only increases your writing ability. I can say that reading different genres of books has increased my capacity for noticing things like plot, voice, and flow. Some books are well developed, and some – well, just aren’t – even though they are popular reads.v Increasing my reading time has fine-tuned my taste in books. I’ll write more about that on the 31st.

2021’s One Little Word – OLW

To thoroughly understand my thoughts on the one little word craze you, dear reader, should look at my post from January 1st, 2021.

Although I have not been successful in the past with choosing one little word, this year was different. If you read the attached post, you know that my word for 2021 was GRATEFUL. I wanted to focus on the good in life, not the strife, not the argumentative aspects, not the things I feel stressed about, and certainly not the world’s problems. Focusing on what I was grateful for made this exercise real and brought this word home. What am I grateful for in my life? As it turns out, there is a lot.

2021 was not without its challenges. By keeping the word GRATEFUL in focus, it helped me to handle the challenges we encountered.

The pandemic droned on. We took carefully planned trips to see my parents, who live 900 miles away. I was GRATEFUL I could use technology to persist for seven weeks last winter to obtain vaccine appointments. I was GRATEFUL my sister-in-law could get my parents to their appointments. I was GRATEFUL we could travel in January and June to go to visit my parents. I was GRATEFUL we stayed healthy.

In September, my mom, 84, became critically ill. She spent 8 days in an ICU. No, it was not COVID but urosepsis. She was placed on a ventilator. We took off emergently to help support my dad through this crisis. We were prepared for the worst. I spent two and a half weeks in New York at my mom’s bedside and helping my dad at home. I was GRATEFUL I could be there. I was GRATEFUL my husband could be there. I was GRATEFUL that both of us had extensive medical education and knowledge to help explain and guide decisions. Many families do not have that advantage.

I was GRATEFUL for the medical staff, nursing staff, and social work staff. I was GRATEFUL for their expertise and patience in dealing with my mom and our family. I was GRATEFUL my parents’ have resources so my mom could be placed in quality care facilities, including the premier nursing home in the area – the Wegmans Family Cottages. I was GRATEFUL for my parents living carefully throughout their lives to still have insurance, two homes, and two cars as well as savings as readily available resources. Could they have spent more during their lives? Yes! I am GRATEFUL they didn’t.

I was GRATEFUL for the renewed relationships that came out of this family crisis. I feel closer to my mom and dad than I have in years. I reconnected with my Godmother and another second cousin over my mom’s status and progress.

I am GRATEFUL we all made it through. My mom survived, is home, and seems to be doing as well as can be expected. I am GRATEFUL. MY dad seems happy to have my mom home. Again, I am GRATEFUL.

We planned a trip to see some of our National Parks this fall. Luckily, we were still able to go. I am GRATEFUL for the beautiful lands that have been set aside for our citizenry. We live in a beautiful country with wide-open spaces and inspiring landscapes. I am GRATEFUL we were able to enjoy it.

I am GRATEFUL for many things. Family. Nature. And, of course, friends. We experienced an outpouring of support from friends during my mom’s illness. For the most part, these were people who did not know my mom, they just knew me and/or my husband. But, their calls and texts exhibited their concern. It made me realize just who we can count on and who really cares about us. I am GRATEFUL for these people, our friends.

As we move into a new year, I will pick a new word to use as my focus and guide. I can only hope it will serve me as well as the word GRATEFUL did. I look forward to 2022!

© Carol Labuzzetta, 2021. Saguaro National Park. Easten Segment.

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