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As many of you can see, I've been a pretty terrible blogger lately! What can I say...Life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 was Arguably the Worst Year of my Life!

As some of you may have noticed, or as some of you already knew, I'm not the kind of person to dive much into my personal life, especially when it comes to the more difficult subjects. It's just always been my business, I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable, and I didn't want to hear more about it than I had to. But I know everyone has their troubles and it helps to talk about it with others and realize you are never alone. Plus, many of you have become my friends through the years. I will say that my life hasn't really been marred with terrible tradgedy, simply the everyday worries of the everyday person, but perhaps that's why this was so particularly hard on me. It's been a while, and I am ready to write about it.

Me and some of my cousins December 24, 2010. I'm laying
across them and Jimmy is in the plaid blue shirt in the
middle, making the funny face.
Yes, although it might not have seemed like it, 2011 was indeed the worst year of my life. Not to say that it didn't have some really good things as well, like graduating from college, opening my Etsy store, getting my first job, an exceptional Christmas, etc. But it will always be marked as the year I lost my cousin on this day, exactly one year ago. My cousin, James Michael Dissinger was only 21 years-old when he passed away in the night due to heart failure.

I've lost people in my life before, but losing Jimmy was the hardest and most trying event I have ever experienced. Perhaps because he was so young, perhaps because he was the closest in age to myself out of all my cousins on that side of the family, perhaps becuase my cousins are the only brothers and sisters I have ever known, and perhaps because I had just seen him at Christmas and he was happy, tall, and beautiful.

It took a very long time to find some kind of closure. Spring Break I was able to make it down to Atlanta, where the Dissinger family lives. I was a complete reck, but held it together for the sake of my aunt, uncle, and two other cousins. It was such a relief to see them and know how well they were doing and how freely they were able to talk about Jimmy. They had seen many signs from our loved one, including a snow day for Jimmy's siblings after losing their brother, a longer break and more time with their family. Plus, a little cardinal that just seemed to stick around and land close to anyone sitting in the back yard. He was lovingly given the pet name of Jimmers.

It comforted me to see them so healthy and happy, but at the same time, I was still questioning a lot.Trying to answer those impossible questions, like what is the meaning of life, how can it be so easily and ubruptly taken away, what can I do to make my life worth it, what happens if someone else isn't there tomorrow, like my mom, dad, another cousin, a best friend, or me? Also realizing some very tough concepts that once seemed so irrelevent at my age, such as loss, pain, suffering, mortality, love. None of these were ever such a concern until last year. I also became extrememly sensitive to things like reports on the news, scary movies, jokes about death, and so on.

I spiralled a bit, but upon realizing that this was not something I wanted to face on my own, I sought the help of my mother, and later, the help of a couselor, luckily a very good friend of my mother's and an accomplished philanthropist, listener, healer, and helper.

I can't thank either of them enough for how they helped me. I am thankful that I have maintained such a wonderful relationship with both my parents, and that there are people out there, so unselfish, connected with the world and humanity, loving, and kind enough to simply listen to my fears, worries, thoughts, etc and find some way to gentle guide me back to my true self simply by offering support and mindful comments that gave me those ah-hah moments.

She never once told me I was crazy, which I thought more than once, or that I needed medication, except for a good bout of laughter and a nice cup of tea. :)

It took me almost the entire year to feel like I was myself again, to regain any of my courage and optimism that I felt like I had loss, and to return to the things I love the most, like reading, writing, or simply creating.

Today, although I still miss Jimmy dearly, I feel more connected to my family, especially my other cousins, whom some have also opened up to me about similar experiences since losing Jimmy. I feel happy, loved, and less worried about those impossible questions.

My hope for 2012 is that this newfound strength inside me better prepares me for some of the harsher aspects of this life, that others who must face trying times have the courage to go to the one person in their life they can trust, and that we as human beings find it in our hearts to love ourselves as much as others, accept others as much as ourselves, and recognize the realities that tie us all together.

I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.


  1. Wow. I'm so sorry for your loss. :-(

    My husband lost his cousin Will in a drunk driving accident. His cousin was in a car and the driver was drunk and she swerved off a cliff. Will and the other passenger died while the drunk driver lived. Will was 21 too.

    This was years ago, but he still talks about how much he misses him. The pain never goes away, especially with such a sudden loss. I'm coming to realize more and more that it's not the dying that's the bad part. The missing them is even worse.

    I'm glad you found some peace, and I also wish you a happy new year and hope that you become more successful and awesome.

    Take care. <3

  2. Aw, that's awful! I'm glad that you are able to look to the future with hope. One of my pet peeves is when friends suggest therapy for my depression and such, when what I really need is just some people to have fun with. Happy new year, Aubrie. You're a lovely woman and I'm glad to have met you.

  3. My best wishes to you...

  4. Thank you everyone for your wishes and for sharing your own stories. It means a lot.

  5. I am so sorry for your loss. I hope it is a little easier and if you need to talk I am her as I have been there I lost my daughter when she was only 16.

  6. Glenda...I am so very sorry to hear that and thank you very much for your support.


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