I want to write more often. I want to write in the same way that a starving child wants a slice of bread and a glass of a water.

Which is to say, I need to write.

When I am not writing consistently, when I am not making the time to document my feelings by stringing them into words, I find that it leaks out of me in other areas of my life. It is this inherent need to create. It's the strangest thing.

It's just like Sylvia Path said, "I write because there is a voice inside me that will not be stilled."

I suppose the internal battle that I am fighting is this: the things that used to fill my cup, they all feel so empty and superficial these days. A blog. Social media. None of it matters so much.

I think that I spent a good deal of 2016 in denial. I was a tiny helpless chick hatching from her shell, acutely aware of the cracks and the breaks and the world outside of them but trying subconsciously to stay inside of my shell while it was all coming down around me instead of breaking free.

I was fighting for life to stay the same.

I am a reminiscer. I am always thinking back on life, looking through pictures, reading journal entries, taking long drives down roads passing old familiar places. And so I sometimes wonder, when I look back to reminisce in ten or twenty years, what will I think about this time of my life?

First and foremost, I will always remember it as our first year without James. I will remember crying so much that my eyes would swell until I couldn't see, and then crying into ice packs to try and stop the swelling. I will always remember his body in the casket, all handsome and dressed up in his green army uniform, a gentle smile painted permanently on his face. I will remember clutching his stiff arm and sobbing. I will remember how I stumbled clumsily throughout the year, grasping for stability while wandering through darkness. I will remember living in a fog. I will remember anger and guilt consuming me. I will remember pain and tears and depression and regret and heartache like I had never known before.

I will also remember it as the year that we chose to change. The year that our pain and loss gave us the courage to take the leaps we needed to refine. It was the year that we dipped our toes into the minimalist movement. The year we sold our big and beautiful home to move into our tiny condo. The year we purged ourselves of all the unnecessary to simplify our lives.

And thus, the year we started to learn what it meant to really live. The year we let go of things and searched for memories to make. The year we stopped living paycheck to paycheck, the year we paid off our debts and started seeing investments and savings. The year of our first visit to Hawaii, many weekend roadtrips to new destinations and old destinations, climbing new mountains, earning our first time at DisneyWorld badges.

I will remember it as the year of the two year old. My last baby. How he potty trained himself effortlessly, but he was such an awful sleeper. I will remember all of the days I spent at work with tired eyes, all of the nights I spent laying on the floor at his bedside to keep him content. I will remember how utterly exhausting a two year old was, but I will also remember his chubby cheeks and the way he held my hand and whispered "I luh-you mom", the way he liked to kiss me right on the lips and cling to me as though I was the only thing he needed in the whole entire world.

I think that, in the long run, I will always remember this as a transition year. An eye-opening, terribly hard, life changing year that transitioned me into a life that had more meaning. A life of following my dreams, of conquering my fears, of living to the fullest, of really knowing my worth, of loving harder and not taking my people for granted.

Christmas this year was pretty downright awful, being the first one without James while also walking through the first year anniversary of his death. There were a lot of tears, a lot of emotions, a lot of pain. But there were also moments of peace scattered throughout.

I remember this one small moment at lunchtime on Christmas Day. The boys were playing with their new razor scooters, cruising back and forth from the living room to the kitchen. I was standing over the stove top in our tiny kitchen, stirring boiling noodles for the pasta I was cooking, and as I stood there it suddenly struck me how absolutely wonderful it was to not want for much. I was watching my little family surrounding me and I realized how much happier of a person I am to be so content and fulfilled without needing things.

Here we were in this little and perfectly comfortable home. We had just celebrated a simple, unembellished and no-frills Christmas with nothing but a tiny handful of presents, solely because we truly didn't want much. I was so worried about how the boys would handle such a small amount of presents but they exceeded my expectations. I was filled to the brim with gratitude at how well they did, at how genuinely pleased they were with what they had been given, at how authentically happy they were with what they had.

I am so anxious to walk away from 2016. I am coming out of this fire refined, a completely different person than I have ever been before.

I will never be the same.

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