Instead of doing the same old end of year survey, I thought I'd try something a bit different. I thought a 'sensory' recap could be interesting. The sights, smells, feelings etc that were experienced this year. Here goes nothing.
The feeling of panic when I found out I was losing my job with about 6 hours notice. Going through the motions of applying for yet more jobs, expecting the same result as always - rejection.. Having a quarter-life crisis. Having another job interview and deciding not to give a shit, because hell, I won't get the job anyway.
The excitement of deciding to do something out of my comfort zone. Dragging my love onto a plane for the first time in his life and the pain of squeezing each other's hands too tight during takeoff. Having cheeseburgers in a pub in Sydney's CBD only to discover halfway through that the meat's still raw. Checking into the hotel and eating the best food ever in their restaurant. Trying mussels for the first time and being pleasantly surprised. Being touristy and capturing memories in front of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge (as you do). Meeting internet friends and sharing laughs over pizza. Having an iced chocolate at Max Brenner just so I could say I'd been there. Baby showering for an afternoon, then flying home the next day.
Crying with relief when I finally got offered a permanent job - note "not giving a shit" as a surprisingly successful interview tactic for future reference. Celebrating our seventh anniversary. Realising that I was the same age that M was when we started dating - and thinking that dating an 18 year old (my age at the time) was jail bait. Losing electricity for 20 hours on my first rostered day off.
Lovin' on my puppy for her birthday - April Fools day - while knowing the joke is really on us. Becoming accustomed to chasing The Smelly Prick Who Shall Not Be Named around my house with Glen 20. Hiding downstairs and getting high on nail products instead.
It was sounds of hospital - IV drips beeping, people moaning. The silence and then the crying when being told that death was imminent. Waiting for M to be taken into surgery. Hearing him tell me that if he didn't make it, he'd love me forever. The praying, the itching of St Mary against my sternum as I wore it every second of every day. The blubbering as my heart and soul leaked out through my tear ducts as I stood under the shower. The sound of the ventilator breathing for him. The horribly heavy, limp feeling of his hand as I held it in mine, hour after hour, day after day. The agony of not knowing if he'd wake up. The scratching of pen meeting paper as we wrote out a prayer card in the hospital church. The opening of packages containing fresh needles and drugs. The astonished looks on the nurses faces when I was able to explain M's condition, what they were doing, and why. One day noticing that his hand didn't feel quite so heavy anymore. My spirit soaring when we passed the surgeon in the corridor and he smirked at us. Late night drives home listening to the same stupid music on the radio and bitching about roadwork. Watching his blood flow through the dialysis machine because it was the only way he would wake up. Walking down the corridor and almost running to his bedside when I could see that his eyes were open and watching me. The smile that spread across his face every time I arrived after work. Crying in the carpark at work on the day he was released. His frustration at not being well enough to do what he used to. The pain of his breastbone knitting back together. The feeling of helplessness at not being able to make it all better.
It was the maneuvering of furniture as we decided to make a fresh start in another house. The astonishment - and honestly, some anger - when M swapped his trusty Hilux ute for an old, run-down convertible. The shrugging my shoulders at the impracticality because hey, he was alive, and if some stupid car made him happy, then I was happy. It was the budding excitement that came with booking our wedding, because why should 2013 be ALL THE BAD THINGS?
It was the sadness felt at losing two dear family friends 16 days apart. The heartbreak of seeing the shell of a lost, heartbroken man alone after 62 years of marriage. The deja-vu of going to two funerals in two weeks.
It was the strangeness at spending the night alone in my parents' bed. After spending so many nights in bed alone, it was still weird. No nerves, just wanting to be next to my love. It was the excitement of knowing that we were finally getting married. It was the choking back of tears as I was strapped into my dress; hugging my dad when he saw me walk out looking like a puffy white marshmallow. The calm feeling in the backseat of the car on the way to the registry office; looking down at my feet as I walked down the aisle trying not to trip; my heart skipping a beat when I saw his face smiling back at me. The giggle escaping as I watched M pull the blue electrical tape off the ring box - to keep the lid on, he said - and the smirk that played on my lips when he stuffed up my middle name. And the kiss that finally sealed the deal. Looking around my backyard after the ceremony and taking everything in, all the people that had been there for us, and knowing how lucky we are. The fairy lights twinkling above my head as I thanked my now-husband for being a stubborn bastard.
Then it was the 4 hour road trip to our honeymoon. The panic of driving a compact rental car over 8km of gravel road after taking a wrong turn, talking about how this would be funny looking back, but not quite so funny in the moment. It was the triumph of escaping sunburn, walking barefoot on hot sand, holding hands and shoes, buying trinkets and recharging batteries. Feeding dolphins, boat rides, 4WD trails and buffet lunches.
Lastly, it's spending Christmas together and recognising that this all could have gone the other way. It's laying my head on M's chest and listening to his heartbeat while his pacemaker adds a click to the end of it. It's running my finger down his biggest scar and knowing that a group of doctors held my world in their hands and stitched it back together.
Now that I think about it, I think that despite all that 2013 threw at us, we conquered it and made it our bitch.