2015 started out superb! Had just visited Arizona and Houston for the first time, was entering into my last year of undergrad and planning the launch of my first summer learning camp- GeldSummer. I sat down on December 31 at 11:59 and wrote down a list of goals that I was ready to conquer in the New Year. Now, anyone that knows me knows that I am a planning machine, I like things in order and I live in a world (in my mind) where unicorns fly and the world is innately good.

Things are perfect in that world but I would get an imperfect, rude awakening on January 24, 2015

My then boyfriend turned fiancé was traveling for work, something I was still getting accustomed to. To keep my mind off of missing his presence, I agreed to go to a pizza-bar with a friend from school. I generally try to detach myself from my phone when I’m hanging out so I placed it in my bag and attempted to enjoy myself. At some point between ordering the food and my friend taking a bathroom break, I checked my phone and saw over ten missed calls from my sisters. If I’m being honest, I already knew the reason for the calls (call it intuition). I just had to brace myself to hear it. My oldest sister, one of the toughest people I know-weak, broken and barely able to speak on the other end of the phone confirmed it.

My mother was gone

It took me approximately thirty-two minutes to get home and somehow, two of my closest friends were already there, in my kitchen, arms and hearts wide open. They sat with me while I cried, guzzled some wine, laughed, cried some more, booked a flight and left for New Jersey. (If I’ve never said it, thank you Sierra & Deb. I could not have made it through that night without you). This was the most difficult thing I’d ever have to endure; the task of burying my 45 year old, fun-loving, energetic, comedic mother unexpectedly. We said our final goodbyes on my nephew’s birthday, February 2 and I have no idea how but we pushed through that indescribable pain.

The resiliency of the human heart is truly earth shattering…

It was after it was all said and done and I was back in Atlanta, that I had a decision to make. I could shut off, drown in my sorrows and push my goals to finish school and launch my camp back or I could accept the sorrow in the spurts that it would inevitably come in and keep my eyes on the prize. I chose the latter and it wasn’t an easy task. Because I chose to return back to my regular scheduled program, I would experience days and weeks where I would have to leave class and work at random moments to just….cry for a few minutes.

I suppose it’s attributed to not giving myself time to heal but the dichotomy in that is, I’m not sure you ever do…

I share this story with you to say that 2015 could’ve just been the year I lost my mother but it became so much more that that. It became the year I gained an angel, not the year I lost her shell. It became the year I launched something that achieved a surprising amount of success and paid off my debts. It turned into the year I became a fiancé to the man I love and a college graduate within the same week! It became the year I saw & experienced 4 new states, the Grand Canyon and 2 new islands/countries.

If 2015 is ending with you harboring pain in your heart, wear it and dammit, call it by it’s name! Use it as your testimony to be great in 2016 and not your excuse as to why you can’t. We often believe the notion that we are not in control of our lives but I beg to differ. You may not have control of some events that occur but you damned sure have control of how you respond. “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”-Charles Swindoll

How will you react and respond in 2016??

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