A Year Gone By….Good Riddance!

This past year has sucked. Today is my 33rd birthday and unlike most people who fear getting older, I couldn’t wait for this day to come. Looking back, I can honestly say that this past year was the absolute worst year of my life.

It all started the day before my birthday last year when I had to admit Matt into a hospital for his depression. He had just been diagnosed with a hereditary disease that had seriously shortened the lives of his father and, presumably, his grandfather. This diagnosis put Matt into a depression that put him on disability for six months. During that time, two of our friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, and a friend of mine’s mother died from cancer (and just this past week this same friend has been hospitalized herself).

In addition, Matt was in 3 minor car accidents (one wasn’t his fault). And when we decided to move back to Boston, through some petty behaviour on all sides (including my own), I lost my best friend (we still talk, but the closeness is gone). Then Matt’s brother, Roy, moved in with us (who I really like), but it took him longer to get settled than we had expected so he stayed on our couch for 3 months.

And while Matt’s brother was with us, my mother’s doctor discovered a lump in her lung that they thought was cancer. After months of tests and biopsies (and a collapsed lung) they determined it was benign. However, they’re monitoring it still, just to be sure (in fact, she has an appointment today…on my birthday). At the same time, my father started redeveloping this bizarre ailment he suffered a few years ago when he became temporarily paralyzed. This time around, fortunately, it only last a month and wasn’t as severe as the last time.

And then there’s my niece, Heather, who was born a year an a half ago but doesn’t have a functioning digestive system. She’s been on feeding tubes nearly her entire life so far and the doctor’s still can’t come up with an official diagnosis. In the mean time, she’s spent probably more than half of the past year in various hosptials (including Children’s Hospital in Boston, during which time my brother and sister-in-law joined Roy sleeping in our living room). She gets regular infections from the feeding tube that goes directly into her stomach and she gets severe pneumonia for no reason.

And all of this hell has made me a person I don’t want to be. I’m cranky, easily irritable and pessimistic. To make matters worse, it’s put a severe strain on my relationship with Matt. Fortunately, the love is still there, along with the mutual goal of resolving our issues.

I’m not naive enough to think that things will turn around just because it’s my birthday and a new year is beginning. I know that May 24th is just another day, but appropriately enough, I woke up this morning to a strong thunder storm. Thunder and lightning signify a change in weather. I’m going to steal some symbolism from that and hope that it represents change in the upcoming year – that things are going to turn around.

I also find it no small coincidence that I share my birthday with Bob Dylan – singer of the appropriately titled song “The Times (They Are a’Changing)”. However, I think another singer sums it up better – particularly with this mornings thunder storms. In the immortal words of that poet extraodinairre, Barry Manilow…”I Made It Through The Rain”!


  1. Comment by Underling on May 24, 2004 12:39 pm

    Happy Birthday, my dear Karl. I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope each year to come is better than the last.

  2. Comment by Salina on May 24, 2004 2:17 pm

    Happy Happy Birthday Karl! Many wishes for a better year ahead. Keep on smilin’….the rain has to clear up sometime.

  3. Comment by Jay on May 24, 2004 2:44 pm

    Make every day your birthday, friend. You’re blessed beyond words. Even when life looks down, you’re still better off than 95% of the people in this world.

  4. Comment by Scott on May 24, 2004 3:07 pm

    Jay’s right. As a friend of mine used to say when I would complain, “Well, you could be starving in a desert and have flies sucking your lips.” We’re all very lucky.

    And don’t forget, I owe you a birthday, um, present. 🙂

  5. Comment by David in Chicago on May 24, 2004 6:19 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  6. Comment by Erica on May 24, 2004 6:25 pm

    Hey, Happy Birthday! I wish I’d looked at your blog earlier so I’d have known and at least gone upstairs & given you a hug or something.


  7. Comment by Erica on May 24, 2004 6:25 pm

    Hey, Happy Birthday! I wish I’d looked at your blog earlier so I’d have known and at least gone upstairs & given you a hug or something.


  8. Comment by Erica on May 24, 2004 6:27 pm

    Hey, Happy Birthday! I wish I’d looked at your blog earlier so I’d have known and at least gone upstairs & given you a hug or something.


  9. Comment by Thom on May 24, 2004 7:10 pm

    Happy birthday! Hope the year to come will be brighter than the last.

  10. Comment by matt on May 24, 2004 9:48 pm

    Happy Birthday, baby! It is all going to be OK. It is all going to work out and we’ll be fine! Now, eat your birthday cake!!!

  11. Comment by Jen on May 24, 2004 10:01 pm

    Happy Birthday, Karl! 🙂

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    Good blog

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