It's New Year's eve. I am sitting in my sunlit living room, gingerly sipping a very full cup of coffee (the way only a chronic spiller would) and ruminating on just how much has changed this year.
I've been scanning my inner lexicon for an adequate word to describe 2014 and the one I settled on--that most closely approximates all the things I've experienced and felt--is significant.
It's been a significant year.
Significant in some really wonderful ways and in some really terrible ways.
So many things that we had been anticipating for so long finally happened this year: Moses completing his PhD, getting engaged, moving back to the east coast, finding professional success.
And at least one thing that I never imagined would happen did.
And that eclipses everything else.
And I am okay with that.
Learning to sacrifice things that I wanted for my siblings was one of the best lessons I ever learned. It's made me a better human, a better partner, and one day, I know will make me a better parent.
I don't mind that this will not be remembered as Wendy's year--this is my brother John's year. The year that we learned just how strong and brave he was and how strong and brave he could make all of us.
John was the most significant part of my year and I will always cherish this year because of that.
I read an article not that long ago by a woman who had lost her mother and was surprised to find the experience, for her, was not transformative. I've thought about that article a lot since and I've asked myself similar questions: was I transformed by the loss of my brother? Am I a different person?
It's a complicated answer. In some ways, I feel exactly the same. In other ways, I feel like I will never be the same again.
The more I think about it, the less it seems that loss was the transformative thing: I think it was John who transformed me. I try to be more kind because John was kind. I try to argue less with my siblings because John hated it when we bickered. I try to joke and laugh and enjoy my life as much as possible because that's exactly what John did.
Above all, John reminded me of what unconditional love is. What a gift to be reminded of that, especially so soon before my wedding.
It's okay, John, you can have 2014 because 2015 is going to be allll about me me me.
A very happy holidays and a happy new year to you and yours...
From the Kozaks
And the Kozak-Wilkses