2018.. what a year it was. I have been reflecting on this past year and all it’s brought, trying to decide just how I feel about it all. From the outside, you would probably be quick to draw the conclusion that this year was the happiest year of my life because it was the year Zack and I got married. And to a point, I feel pressured to agree with that. But to be honest, this was by far one of the most difficult years of my life so far. Not at all because of my new marriage, that has been the best thing about this year, for sure.  Rather, because this year has been marked with many shocking, sudden deaths of multiple people around me. Like, a freaky amount of death has happened this year. In April, it began when we lost Joe. Joe, who was like another brother to me & a son to my parents, was tragically taken from us in a motorcycle accident. I can’t begin to explain the ways that wrecked my family. I saw my brother hurt in  ways I had never seen as he lost someone who he held closer than almost anyone. I saw my parents grieve almost like they lost their own son, because Joe was about as close to that as someone could be for them. My sister and I, we grieved in many ways. We grieved Joe like we lost a brother, but we also grieved for our parents, we grieved seeing our brother & sister in law walk through the insurmountable loss that they faced.. and of course, we grieved for May, Joe’s sweet mom. It just hurt.

The rest of April & May were a toss up of good and bad days for everyone in my family, I’d say. Some days I’d feel excited for mine & Zack’s wedding that was quickly approaching.. other days, I would feel insensitive to be anything but devastated over Joe. He continued to be the forefront of my mind.

June came, and we were married! Man… now that was undoubtedly the best day of the year, the best day of our lives. I praise God for the joy that filled our hearts that day despite walking through a valley of such sadness, that day was like a glimpse of Heaven. Everyone we loved with us, celebrating a love that God had created in mine & Zack’s hearts for one another. We left for our honeymoon after a whirlwind of a wedding day/week/season and were soo ready to just enjoy  the peace & quiet of a beach with only each other’s company — and that we did! It was another huge highlight of this year and a trip I will always remember.

About 4-5 days into our honeymoon, Zack and I were hanging out in our hotel room when I walked out of the bathroom and found him sitting on the bed with his phone held close to his chest. I asked him what was wrong, and he asked me to sit down before asking me if I was sure I wanted to know.. He then proceeded to explain to me he just got news that one of our best friend’s father had just passed away in a motorcycle accident. He had just been at our wedding day not even one week ago. Again, we were crushed, and in a way that felt eerily similar to Joe’s passing.

The month of July was another month of loss. My Grandpa passed away, after battling dementia. A little over a week later, we got news that my uncle had unexpectedly passed away from a diabetic seizure. Honestly, at this point, my prayers to God were a lot of, “seriously? how much more of this can we be handed this year?” My heart grew bitter and more and more sad. I tried to remind myself of Who He says He is, but my circumstances were making it difficult for my feet to stand firm on that.

August came, and I had developed a subsequent anxiety & depression following the recent deaths around my family. Let me just be the first to say, I am vulnerably sharing this because like I usually say on  my blog, I like to be transparent on here. Anxiety & depression included. Those were monsters I had never expected to battle, things I had never expected to struggle with. My personality just wasn’t one that I thought was ‘susceptible’ to any type of mental health struggles. Cause that’s how it works, right? Oh, how I was wrong. How I was humbled. Oh, how much I learned about anxiety & depression. And oh, how wrong I was in every assumption and thing I thought I knew about them before dealing with them myself. I think the birth control I was on completely propelled what real emotions I was already facing and made them way worse than they would be on their own. My anxiety and depression were definitely real, but my birth control exacerbated them and they had way more control over me than they should, or usually would when I hadn’t been on the pill.

September rolled around, and I got off my awful pill and started to feel like myself again. Praise the Lord! October and November were full of ( finally ) just really good things, which I think our hearts really needed after a year of recurrent deaths around us. We saw some of our dearest friends get married, celebrated so many birthdays, holidays &  more. This past year has taught me so, so very much. As much as I feel pressure to maybe say this was the best year ever, I don’t think it was as a whole, and I’m okay with that. It held thee best day of my life, our wedding day. It held some of the sweetest moments, some amazing trips, and some unforgettable memories. But it also held so much loss. A really bad run around with anxiety and depression. Some lost friendships, some new ones, and many passings of loved ones around us.

In 2019, I will remember to hold those around me tighter. To not take a single day for granted, as cliche as it may sound. I will remember to invest in my relationships and to love like Jesus. Forgiving quickly, keeping no record of wrongs. Speak lovingly to and about those around me, keeping nonconstructive words to myself. And just as God would have it, as I write this now, the words of the song playing on my computer… I remember You have always been faithful to me, even when my eyes could not see. You were there, always there, for me. ~ Lauren Daigle



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