While the year was raw and full of loss for everyone I know - some lost several family members in the span of a month - there were wonderful aspects as well.
My Imaginary Friends from the Internet celebrated our 10th Anniversary. United by a love of books and two specific authors, we've formed a ragtag group of family. There's nothing any of us wouldn't do for another. We've celebrated births, homes, jobs, held each other through the loss of family as well as group members, supported each other through divorce and other painful breakups. We've traveled borders and oceans to be together in real time. Under the same roof.
This year a friend I hadn't seen in eight years visited four times with various members of her family. She gave me the gift of laughter, something that was in high demand this past year. His name is Finnegan and that pup loves life to its fullest. Last night he leapt and froliced, poked and pawed at Casey and Ky, tossed a ball in the air and slid across the snow on his nose, then his ear and finally his back.
I met an online friend in Real Life for the first time. We hunted for ghosts, discovered some beer tastes better than it smells and explored parts of Old Town that I had forgotten about in the last few years.
The Niagara Region is beautiful, wild and barely tamed. I've seen her draped in sheets of ice, beneath a carpet of cherry blossoms and huddled against escarpment to escape the sharp wind off the Great Lakes. I've seen her through the eyes of old friends and new as well as my own from new angles.
This year I rediscovered my love of romance. Both as a reader and a writer. Despite the horror we've seen this year, I believe more than ever in the power of love. I have witnessed it at work in people of different faith, opposing views, hostile environments and in the midst of fear and hatred.
Love. It is what makes life worthwhile. It's the well from which we draw hope, find solace, and replenish faith in humanity.
May you find LOVE in 2017. Seek it out, give it refuge, feed and nourish it. And keep some for yourself so that it may flourish.