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What's Another Year ...
I can remember sitting down a few weeks ago and reflecting on what an awful year 2016 had been, not only for my wife Jan and I, but also for our wider family.
It began and ended with Jan being off work sick and although she did manage a brief return to work in the autumn she spent most of the year off work and even had a couple of weeks in hospital.

My own health problems continued too as I lost track of the number of hospital appointments and tests I had last year. During 2016 my Dad also had a heart attack and we had to say goodbye to a very old friend, Ron Reeve, who we had known for over 20 years.

When Jan and I first moved to England from Scotland for work, way back in 1993, we stayed with Ron and his wife Lydia in Guisborough for several months where they ran a small B&B. By the time we moved out and into our own house they felt more like surrogate parents than landlords.

The help, support and above all else friendship they both gave to us made settling into a new area well away from family and friends so much easier to cope with and for that they both earned a special place in our heart.

So, despite the fact that Ron was in his late Eighties when he passed away it still affected us greatly when he died.

Most people would probably reckon by now that they’d had their share of bad luck for the year, but a few weeks after Ron passed away my sister-in-law Mary also died. Despite being much younger than Ron her death in November was less of a surprise as she’d been fighting cancer for a considerable time, but that did nothing really to soften the blow.

Mary was my wife’s only sister and at 59 was by today’s standards not only still a young woman, but one with much to live for. Despite having lost her Mum many years ago and her own son Alan to a tragic accident when he was in his Twenties, she and her husband Walter still had 3 daughters and several grandchildren.

I can remember when Mary was battling against the cancer and my own depression was at its worst thinking that if there was some way I could swap places with her I would. It just seemed so unfair that someone with so much still to live for should be taken away from her family at such a relatively young age.

So, as you can see, 2016 was not just a bad year, it was a terrible year … what the Queen herself might consider to be an annus horribilis and one that I was glad to see come to an end.

And so with hope for the future we welcomed in 2017, a New Year and one that surely couldn’t be any worse than the one that preceded it?

Less than 3 weeks in though and I have to say that it’s looking equally bleak. Not only is Jan still off work, but I spent 4 days in hospital getting various tests done before being told that I not only had several blood clots on my lungs, but that I also have pneumonia: not good news for someone who has no spleen and therefore a weakened immune system.

Then as if all of that wasn’t a bad enough start to 2017 a few days ago my father-in-law Bill passed away. Admittedly, he’d been ill for some time and had been in hospital for several weeks prior to his death, but it still shook us all considerably: not least Jan who has now lost both her sister and her Dad in less than 3 months.


Bill was an almost larger than life character whose sense of humour and cheeky banter endeared him to everyone that knew him. I will miss all of that along with his infectious smile and our chats about all things football, but I know he was ready to go. At 87 the shock of seeing one of his daughters die before him had affected him greatly and that along with poor health means that for him at least perhaps his death was a relief, but he still leaves a huge gap in all of our lives.

It would be nice to think that Bill is now “up there” along with his wife May, daughter Mary and grandson Alan looking down on us all and perhaps able to exert some influence to ensure an upturn in our fortunes.

However, whilst I don’t discount the theory of there being an afterlife of some sort, the last year has left me absolutely convinced that there is no divine power watching over us, over any of us for that matter.

If 2017 does indeed turn out to not be yet another annus horribilis it will be more down to luck and coincidence than it will be fate or any kind of divine intervention.

And yes, I know that things could be worse. I mean one only has to look at the news to see that to be true, but I still say this has been one horrible year.

15 comments

StoneRoad2013 said:

Paul, 2016 was definitely a bad year for you and your family / friends,
You have obviously had a great deal to occupy your mind, so I am very grateful for your time and help, over here on the Internet.
I hope that 2017 is a better year for you and Jan.

All the very best
Sara
5 years ago

autofantasia replied to StoneRoad2013:

Be nice to think things might pick up Sara and I hope this coming year is a good one for you too ... ipernity being saved would be a good starting point that's for sure! ;)
5 years ago

Clickity Click said:

Well Paul I must say that you and Jan have endured far too many blows this past year. Please know that Charlie and I send our heartfelt sympathies for those you have had to bid farewell and our wish for the difficult days ahead as you adjust to life without those special people is for improved health for both of you. Life's journey can be so difficult and yet we mustn't give up. Wrap the love and support of your family & friends around you while you take care of each other. Paul our thoughts will be with you. x
5 years ago

autofantasia replied to Clickity Click:

As I said to Kenny apologies if it sounded like I was belittling the difficulties anyone else out there might be facing Chris ... I'm aware it's not been the best of times for you and Charlie.

It's just seemed of late that it's one blow after another and I guess I just felt the need to put it out there. One of those posts I might look back on and feel embarrassed about, but like I say I just felt the need to get it out my system if you like.

And I really appreciate your kind words and good wishes ... here's hoping 2017 surprises us all and turns out to be a terrific year despite the inauguration today of the Donald! ;)
5 years ago

Pam J said:

Paul... I am so sorry you and yours have gone through this.

I lost my Mum when I was 14.. my Dad when I was 29.

I understand the depression... totally.

Last year was vile for many (us inclided) and this year already I have also lost 2 very special people.

I am with you totally and have been a non believer since I was 4 years old.. and that has only increased over the years.

I died on an operating table when I was 13.. the rest is a bonus. I do believe what we learn from it is to take nothing and no-one for granted. Tell people you care about them.. every day.

I feel so much for you and Jan. Just take some time for yourselves.. breathe.... If you possibly can.. just turn off the news.. the radio.. the TV... get a weekends worth of good and favourite meals... and just decompress.

Retrench.. find your "Level flight".

One day at a time... and please know that people care.

Hugsssssssssssssss
Pam
5 years ago

autofantasia said:

So sorry to hear of your losses too Pam, must have been especially difficult losing your parents so young and please don't think I was belittling the difficulties anyone else out there might be facing, now or in the past.

It's just that lately I seem to spend most of my time wondering what on earth is going to go wrong next ... life of late seems to all about loss one way or another, but I appreciate your kind words of advice and will do my best to take it on board.

I think I need to reassess some of what I do and how I let things affect me ...no change there then - lol! ;)
5 years ago

Pam J replied to autofantasia:

Trust me on this Paul... I am still trying to follow my own advice... smiles....

I truly know what you mean.. its like "How many mirrors did I break ? "

Things affect us as they do because we are all too human. I guess the lesson is to find a way to continue

Grief doesn’t disappear… it just morphs into another form. For the lucky.. it gives strength to live on and change things we can.. and aspire to take better roads. The pain of it prompts us not to forget… to take the harder path.
5 years ago

Karen's Place said:

Oh, Paul, it's been a cruel year for you and your family. I sure hope things get better soon. xo
5 years ago

autofantasia replied to Karen's Place:

To be honest Karen I find myself almost expecting that something else will go wrong or that something else bad will happen soon ... been such a bad run that it's hard to shake off! :(

Still, I appreciate your kind words of comfort ... now get back on Reception! ;)
5 years ago

Gudrun said:

That has been a true annus horribilis for you:-( I do hope so much that you can put the equally bad start to this year behind you, all the best of luck and health to you both!
5 years ago

autofantasia replied to Gudrun:

Thank you for the kind words Gudrun! :)
5 years ago

Karen's Place replied to :

I know what you mean. I guess we just have to make the most of the "in between" times...

Lol, I have missed you, Doc! :D
5 years ago

autofantasia replied to :

:)
5 years ago ( translate )

forever is a long ti… said:

Well I hope 2017 will get better for you.
I'm very sorry to read of the people you've lost and the medical problems.
Life's a strange thing.
Best. Daniel
5 years ago

autofantasia replied to forever is a long ti…:

Thank you for the good wishes ... one can only hope that these things balance themselves out over time. I hope this proves to be a good year for you too! :)
5 years ago