2012 started out with a lot of optimism for me, believe it or not. I was more determined than ever to make this a great year, despite the newness of being The Riddle Family, minus one. I had a lot of things I wanted to get accomplished; probably a lot more than was possible in just a year. But my hopes were high. I think mostly I just wanted to keep myself busy. I had a mindset from the very beginning of becoming a widow that Spencer died, I did not. I didn’t want to waste a year just because my husband was gone. To me, it was a reason to live my life more than I ever had before and I really wanted to make Spencer proud of me.
Living at home again was a challenge. It was so nice to be around my family, but it was a big adjustment. My family has a different lifestyle than what Spencer and I had and not to mention I had gotten overly used to the city life. Bird City, KS doesn’t have much to offer in the way of entertainment. But I am so glad that I did move home for a while. The whole reason I moved after Spencer died was so that I could take the time to grieve and even begin to heal. I could be in the comforts of my childhood home with family available any time I needed them.
Shortly after moving home I was offered a babysitting position for the cutest 3 year old I know! This was SUCH a blessing due to the fact that I was worried about finding a job at all and making money. I needed to save up so that I could eventually move back out to Utah and also make some trips in between. I had a great time watching Ash.
I made a couple of trips to Utah during my time in Kansas. There was a point in time where I felt like I needed to face the reality of Spencer’s death. Even though being home was exactly what I needed, I felt like being in Kansas was escaping my reality. It always felt like I was just taking a vacation. The moment I went back to Utah it seemed like Spencer would be there and we’d reunite again. Since I had taken many trips home to Kansas without Spence during school breaks it was understandable that I felt this way. My first trip back to Utah was a lot of fun and exactly what I needed. I spent my time there at the Soderborg’s house thankfully. I had really missed them and it was so nice to spend a week there! I remember my very first trip up to the hospital since Spence died. I went up there to eat lunch with Christine and we even went up to AIM B to visit for a few minutes. At first it wasn’t bad at all. Actually it really just felt like home. I mean think about it… Spence and I were at the hospital for 2 weeks at a time each and every month for the past 2 years, and then I spent the last 3 months of 2011 sitting in an ICU room with him. It became, instead of my 2nd home, my 1st home. I was definitely comfortable there – a feeling that I didn’t at all expect.
But once we went up to AIM B I got exactly what I needed; the reassurance that this place was no longer my home. Christine went to go and visit one of her friends in the hospital and I was out talking with the nurses and aids. After about 5 minutes they had to go about doing their job and I wasn’t sure which patient room Christine went into. I suddenly felt very, very out of place. Just a few months before I would have been able to go back to Spencer’s room. That was really the moment where things changed for me. Spencer wasn't there anymore and he wasn't coming back. I didn't belong at the hospital anymore. That place that we used to call home together was no longer a home for me.
Two friends that I met while Spencer was in the hospital offered me their home up in Ogden while they were away for the summer. This was great and perfect as I had time to look for a good place to live and a decent job that would get me by. Shortly after moving back, I applied for multiple positions at ARUP Laboratories knowing in my heart that this was the perfect position for me. Within a month of applying, interviewing, and a little bit of waiting I was hired! My first "real" job! I now work in the Infections Disease Rapid Testing department at ARUP and it is PERFECT! I absolutely love my job and my co-workers.
A week after getting hired I found a very good place to live -- excellent price and a perfect location. Right next to research park, only 3-5 minutes away from where I work! It's a cute little condo.
I live with 2 roommates, who are sisters, and they are super nice. It's really hard living with roommates, but I'm slowly adjusting and trying to accept another persons life style.
After moving back to Utah, between working and sleeping, I tried my best to hang out with friends more and get out and do things. I went to three different concerts and they were so much fun!! The first one was A Capella Stock -- the second year that I went. The groups that performed were AMAZING! I just love the sounds of the human voice, no instruments.
The second one I went to was The Piano Guys concert at Red Butte Gardens and it was amazing! It was a live recording for a PBS show that was aired in December. And if you know me at all, you know how much I LOVE TPG!
As 2012 wound down I sure didn't! During the first big snow of the year, [over a foot] I had my nieces over for a cookie decorating party. Man those girls are wild, but I had so much fun with them. It's so important to me that I stay a part of their lives and it was a great bonding opportunity. We decorated cookies, played out in the snow, drew their Uncle Michael pictures to send to him on his mission, had hot chocolate, and watched a movie! I think I gave them a sugar high and I'm shocked they didn't throw up from it all. I'm sure they crashed well that night ;-)
Even though 2012 seemed to be a fairly good year for me, it definitely wasn't all rainbows and butterflies, so to speak. I had a lot of rough moments and a lot of expected and unexpected challenges that were thrown my way.
But on December 11th I felt a huge brick taken off of my shoulders by the end of the night. We had a wonderful celebration of life for Spencer and it was perfect. Friends and family gathered at his childhood home. We looked through pictures and cards, shared countless memories, signed ornaments in memory of him, listened to They Might Be Giants all night, ate great food, had a balloon release, and watched the video that George put together with all of the pictures of Spencer growing up and into adulthood. It was a beautiful night filled with so much love.
Honestly, when December hit I was terribly depressed about the way that my year had turned out. I didn’t feel like I accomplished enough. I felt like I had SO much left that I wanted and/or needed to get done before 2012 ended and 2013 began. I had the overwhelming feeling that it was as if I didn’t get these things done the moment this year was over, I would have failed in some way, whether that be failing myself, my friends, my family, or Spencer. For some reason I felt like this year had been a waste. I felt empty. I had never ended a year with this feeling before and it bothered me a great deal. So I do what I always do, I spent days talking about it and reflecting about it over and over again. Obviously as you can see from this ridiculously long blog post, I have had a HUGE year, full of memories, and so many fun things. I have done so, so much in such short amount of time. There is no way that this year was lacking in accomplishments, especially if you consider what I've lost. But I finally came to the conclusion that the reason I felt this way was because I was missing the biggest part of me -- Spencer. He still has that piece of my heart and he always will. Thankfully this feeling subsided about a week after his angelversary, and it's now completely gone after writing this blog post reflecting upon my busy year!
Within the last two weeks of December I was able to go home and visit my family and friends. I had a wonderful Christmas with my family and spent a lot of great quality time with my best friend from High school, Jay. You know you have a true friend when you've been able to keep a close bond through 1 year of Jr. High, 4 years of high school, and 3.5 years being separated during college along with all of the little arguments and things that have come up in between! =) I'm thankful for a friend like him and I really value what we have.
Unfortunately I had to work on Christmas, and even more unfortunately I had to walk to work on Christmas due to the battery on my car being dead (It was freeezing!!!), but I was able to ring in the new year with a co-worker and new friend, Mary. We went to Village Inn together, had a great meal, laughed a whole bunch, and rang in the new year there. Shortly after midnight hit we were both overly ready to head home and go to bed.
All-in-All 2012 was a very successful and busy year!!! I learned A LOT about myself and so many life lessons within the year. It was jam packed with new memories, experiences, and emotions. I just hope that 2013 can match it, or even top it! I'm sure ready, so bring it on =)