So long, 2013. It’s been swell.

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photo-5I’ve often heard, and I suppose I believed that the first Christmas (or other major holiday you may celebrate) without someone you  love is the hardest, but now I’m not sure that’s true.

Last Christmas, it had been 6 months since Joey’s death, and I missed him so much, but I feel like I was still just in shock so much that I couldn’t quite come to terms with the reality. I had started walking and set my goal to run a 5k in 2013, and these goals were so important for me to keep moving and taking breaths every day, but in some ways they were also a much needed distraction at the time.

This Christmas, however, I have felt the absence of Joey much worse. The permanence of death has set in, and the least of things has moved me to tears. I suppose the allocution and dealings with George Martinez this month may have had something to do with it as well, but generally, I have just felt extra sad.

But, as Mama Jello said, “I’m not going to let that be my story.” 2013 has truly been one of the best years of my life. It has been very hard, but I have grown so much and learned more about myself than any other year.

On March 11, 2013, I started the couch to 5k program and could barely run each 1 minute interval. In May, I ran/walked my first 5k in just under 47 minutes. In June, I completed the Keep Austin Weird 5k in honor of Joey Jello in approximately 45 minutes. And last month I ran a sub 35 minute 5k! I wasn’t even sure I had that in me a few months ago.

I’ve also made wonderful new friends and spent time with some of the greatest people this year, and connected virtually with many, many more, widening my perspective and greatly enhancing my worldview, not to mention generally strengthening my faith in humanity.

In the end, I wave goodbye to 2013 with a full heart, and looking forward to even more love in 2014. Bad days will come, I know, but I will never lose hope, and I will always keep moving forward.

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