Well what a year 2011 turned out to be - who would have thought 12 months from now that so many changes would have occured not just within our own country, but on the world stage. The most important of these for me at least has to be the Arab Spring and the fall of the Egyptian and Libyan regimes. The world now waits with bated breath to see what changes (if any) will occur in North Korea, the world's one remaining hereditary communist state.
From a personal point of view, the greatest challenge that I had to deal with was that regarding my sister and the very painful decision to let her go. I had been putting this off for some time, but when it finally came, and the pain had settled (and it was a very intense emotional pain and a grieving process for both Coran and I), both of us were left with a sense of relief, a sense of relief that both of us were free from the chains and the restrictions that we had allowed her to place around our hearts. In so doing, I know that she is now free to persue her own path too, in whatever form that takes. She still writes to us from time to time, and the letters hold no punches, tugging for the minutes that it takes to read them at the heartstrings, but I cannot and will now allow her to weedle her way back in, for I know that even if I do, it will not make a difference to her life, not one that really counts. When the chips are down, it is only her that can change her situation, by being willing to talk and explore the depths of her emotions. Until she is able and willing to do that, then nothing will change, and I have nothing else to say. I know that I did everything I could to help her, and every atempt that I made was thwarted, and sometimes you have to know when to let go.
On the subject of letting go, we have also let go of more than our fair share of residents at work this year - I cannot of course mention names, but there were at least eight or nine of them last year - some of the deaths were more sudden and unexpected than others, and some I miss more than others too.
Death does not seem to affect me as much as it did when I first started this job, and I am not sure when or why this changed. I think it was after last Christmas(2010) when one lady that I was very fond of passed away. It was a slow and painful death, watching her gradually fade over a period of weeks, so when it finally came on Christmas Day, it was in many ways a relief, for the family as well as the staff. I will always remember this lady though, and I will always remember the gentleman who passed away a few days before Christmas this year. He was a war veteran, from one of the parachute regiments in France, and had a long and eventful life with two sons and a step daughter. I spoke to his son the day before his father died and asked him how he was bearing up and it turned into one of those philosophical conversations about the nature of life and death and many different things in between. It is good to know that I can help poeple with words, both written and spoken and in my own small way, make a difference.
So, back to 2012. Will this be the year that we as David Camneron put it "go for it" and if so, then what exactly it "is?". "It" for me is the same thing that it has always been, about the relationships that I have with others, and knowing that when all is said and done, this is the one thing that counts. It is not about aiming for bigger and better, more expensive things, but all about quality of life, and it is more than anything the poeple in our lives that give that quality. So on that note, I am going to take a short walk back to the living room, where the person that I love is waiting for me, and give her a great big cuddle to show my appreciation and thanks.