It's quite possible that this most horrendous of years will end really rather well. More happy news came at the end of last week, as my sister and her boy announced their engagement. We are all thrilled to bits for them - he's a great guy and he puts a big smile on her face. They've had a difficult year struggling to find work and are both in jobs well below their qualification levels, so it feels extra lovely that this year will end on a high note for them.
As the curtains begin to draw on 2011, I can look back on the year with a bit more of a sense of perspective. It's definitely been the hardest one of my life. The challenge of so much loss has been very difficult, and in particular the loss of our baby and the loss of my friend to suicide have pushed me to places I've never been before - and where I am in no hurry to go again. I feel like I've been turned inside out and put back together differently, and this year has changed me in a way that no other has done so.
But I try to remain positive and to follow the mantra that everything happens for a reason. From the dust and ashes of the year, a phoenix has risen from the flames in a deeper connection with the Boy than I could ever have imagined. And I've become a bit stronger, a bit bolder, a bit wiser - I'm reminded we all only have a finite time on this earth and that we can't control everything that happens to us at that time.
I suppose by that I mean I've learned to take risks and push myself a bit out of my comfort zone, something I haven't really done since the abandon of my youth. Taking the scuba course was a big step forward for me. I didn't particularly enjoy it - but at least I tried. And starting my first novel is a real landmark for me. As I've said, I've no idea what - if anything - will come of it, but at least I am writing and trying and giving it a shot.