Why post a New Year’s Post on January 2nd?  Aside from me making the rules here, it’s now been 6 months- to the day- since July 2nd.  I made it through six months that I wasn’t expecting to at the beginning of last year proving that a year can take you by surprise.  Lots of curve balls that you’d never see coming could be awaiting for you throughout the year.  Highs and lows, happies and crappies, roses and thorns- all are seen within a year.  I had a bunch of each, some bigger than others.  But somehow, here I am on January 2nd, having lived through six months without Dad.  

The day he told us about his cancer, I made my way down to south jersey to visit a friend of mine for their birthday.  We spent the end of the night sitting on a little beach looking across the Delaware River at Philadelphia and all the lights that made up the city.  I remember wondering how a world without Dad could ever be as beautiful.  And I knew that I definitely didn’t want to see a world without him in it.  

A lot has changed in 2017 and I’m now looking at the world without him in it.  Somehow it’s not a big black hole.  Somehow everyone’s still functioning.  And somehow I’m still going.  Somehow, he’s still here with us, wanting us to keep pushing on and showing us the beautiful parts of life as our angel.  

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Three Hundred and sixty- four days ago I was ready for what 2017 had instore for me.  

By the end of each year our eyes are wide, our bodies are trembling and we are excitedly waiting for that midnight kiss goodbye to the insane year we just endured.  Our resolution lists are written in our brand new journals, the new planners are purchased and underway and the promise to smile, laugh and enjoy more are waiting to come into effect at the strike of midnight.  Everyone cheers when that ball drops and that’s probably because we made it through.  But we never learn.  Resolutions last three weeks, journals end up with four entries, planners are used until May at most and the bomb of the year drops somewhere between April and August.  

Last year on January first I thought I had it all.  Everyone was healthy, relationships were secure, a new semester awaited, and I found pure joy as I crossed things out of my planner each day.  However, as the year went on I found that 2017 started chewing.  Then chewing some more.  Then I was broken off into pieces.  Then those pieces became pieces and then those pieces of me were sent off to survive.  

It seemed like there were a lot more negatives than positives this year.  Now when competing with the loss of a parent and all four wisdom teeth, positives have little to no chance of being remembered throughout the year.  The months of June and July did me dirty, as some would say.  A parent was extracted from the earth and while my teeth were going through the same thing I couldn’t even explain that I cried throughout the entire procedure because I assumed I would be knocked out enough like the people in movies who see people they’ve lost in their lives as well.  

I experienced the effects of cancer up close; I turned 20; I heard my dad tell me he was going to die; I was taken to Punta Cana; I stood at my dad’s wake and funeral; speaking at the funeral in front of tons of people was the first public speaking situation I wasn’t stressed about; found out my mom was actually really cool; experienced the first move- in without Dad; skipped school for Disney World; found a cute boy; grew my sorority family; worked at Your Social Media Hour and Rita’s Water Ice; SURVIVED.

What does this mean?  You might lose battles that you have no control over, but you also have the power to redeem yourself and find good things that can come out of it.  And that’s what 2017 showed me.

This next year could be just as hard though.  It’s the start of the first full year without Dad.  I’ll be celebrating a birthday that he would have enjoyed more than the others- my 21st.  Half way through will mark a full year without him.  And throw in things that are just completely unpredictable.  How that will all go down is beyond me.  

So 2017, you sucked me in and chewed me up.  You chewed me up really well.  But I appreciate your decision to spit me back up and let me experience this next year- something that some people don’t get to do.  

I spent New Years Eve at the beautiful wedding of one of my favorite people.  Someone who has listened to me, guided me and supported me through all of my craziness.  And it was a pretty cool way to start the new year.  With something completely new.  Not that you need a wedding as a physical representation that you’re starting something new each year but it’s a good image of it.  I’m ready for the new.

2018, I hope you don’t bite.  

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I have hope and a pretty cool angel watching and guiding me.  I want to do this year with all that I have of him.  Which is actually a lot.  I’ve got all of his stories, all of the memories, all of the pictures and all of his people still here.  And I’m going to use them.  

I realized that this is the first blog post since June that hasn’t been completely revolved around him although after reading it through it definitely is.  And I’ve sort of dug myself a hole.  What will people think when I post something that doesn’t relate to him or include anything about him at all?  What will people assume when I change my profile picture from him and I?  The answer is probably nothing.  No one will notice at all.  It’ll bother me more than anyone but both are pretty inevitable.  I could leave my profile picture with me as my twenty- year- old self up until the end of my time.  I could throw countless blog posts about him up until I can no longer type.  But something tells me no one would advise either- not even him.  So, an unimportant announcement: at the end of each blog post you will find a John Wengler quote.  Seems interesting enough and will keep him apart of these and apart of my writing which he always supported.

P.S. One of my goals for the year is to figure out how I like my coffee when making it myself so that I stop spending $4 on Starbucks each time.  Checked that off the list today.  Whereas I’m sure a resolution years from now will be to quick drinking it, I’m pretty happy with it right now.

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Your first John Wengler quote is one that hangs on my bulletin board and is the lock screen on my phone.  It serves as a reminder of what I was and still am to him and gives me the support I always had and will have now that he’s far away.

“Love you tons!”

-John Wengler