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The best year...

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Every year on January 1 many of us are hopeful we are about to have the best year of our lives. After a few hard years I was hopeful on January 1, 2022 that 2022 was going to be my year.


That all drastically changed on March 18, 2022 when one of my brothers was killed in a car accident. I’ll never forget that morning, seeing my moms name show up on my phone as I was waking up and I instantly felt a pain in my chest and knew something was wrong. As my mom spoke the words “Our Isaac is gone” my heart stopped, and it felt as though the world had officially turned cruel.


Isaac was the middle child, #3 of 5 kids and a heart of pure gold. I don’t think I ever heard him say one negative or bad thing about another person, and he always had a way of connecting with anyone he met, and making them feel like they were the most amazing person in the world.


My family’s hearts broke the day Isaac died. We had experienced pain and loss (our dad in 2020, grandparents in 2016 and 2018) but nothing like the loss of Isaac. To be honest, for the first few months I was worried we were never going to recover.


As I experienced the uncertainty of grief with every passing day, I struggled to understand how and why the world could take Isaac so young. I found my own peace with his death even if it hurt and felt cruel.


Just as I felt like I was coming up for air, I had another morning 5 months later where my phone rang as I was waking up with the same pain in my chest. On August, 3, 2022 one of my best friends, Brittany was killed. To this day, the details are still unclear, and the pain is still at the surface. I was just with Brittany 3 days before her death, where our day together on the lake with our dogs felt peaceful, grounding and inspiring. Inspiring that we were both feeling like we were in pretty good places in our lives (after plenty of setbacks) and hopeful/optimistic for our futures.


Brittany’s death brought so much pain, not only was I still grieving my brother and trying to come to peace with his death, but now one of my best friends was gone too and we didn’t have answers. If there was ever a time to be mad at the universe it was then. I was angry with the world, with the loss of Isaac and Brittany and with the pain that felt like it was never ending.


After Brittany’s death my grief had some unbearable days. Days where all I could do was cry, days where I wanted to just call my friend or my brother and for them to tell me 2022 wasn’t real, and I’d wake up from the nightmare soon.


How quickly my hope for the best year of my life turned into the worst year of my life is still a nightmare. I look back on 2022, and question how did I, my family, Isaac’s friends, Brittany’s family and friends get through each day after their passing. I still don’t know how I did it to be honest, and still don’t some days.


It’s been easy to be angry, depressed, anxious, sad and any other “negative” emotion you can think of since March 18, 2022. I keep trying to find the light in this world, especially with two people filled with so much light gone.


I’ve promised myself to never give up hope, love, laughter, kindness or fun. Not because they’re the most present emotions in my life, but because nothing is guaranteed, because I still deserve the best year of my life and because my brother and friend would want me to experience those emotions and have that “best year”.


It’s been a year since Isaac died and 7 months since Brittany died. I’m still trying to come up for air most days, and wipe away tears more often than anyone would know.


I’m still hopeful that I will have the best year of my life, wether that’s in 2023, or 2040. But I’ve learned that year won’t be picture perfect. It’ll have plenty of ups and downs, and won’t feel complete without my brother and friend here to experience it with me. But I’ll still get good memories, laughs, experiences and events. It’ll just be with two angels watching instead of by my side.


If there’s anything 2022 taught me, it’s that life really is short and precious. I know that sounds cliché, but when you lose 2 people unexpectedly 5 months apart who were young, healthy and had full lives ahead of them. You rethink and review what’s important, how to live and how to love.


So here’s to what won’t be a perfect year, but hopefully an amazing one. Hopefully one where the happy moments outweigh the pain, and where the love outweigh the tears. Here’s to filling the hole in my heart that was created when my brother and friend died with memories and moments with those important. To filling a hole that’ll never close completely, but can grow a little smaller with each passing year.


While I would give anything to go back in time, to get to re-live 2021 over and over so I never had to lose my brother or friend, that’s unfortunately an option I don’t have. So instead, I have to keep moving forward, day by day to learn to live without them here. To learn to enjoy the imperfection to learn to still make each year the best year that I can.


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