In Family Time



Happy New Year, friends! First of all I want to thank you for being here. For reading my words and for following along. I know 2016 was a beast of a year for many, it wasn’t the easiest for me either, but the beauty balanced the beast.

I started 2016 with hope after the previous year had delivered punch after painful punch, especially during the last quarter.  My husband and I welcomed the new year with open arms. We bought our first home together in December 2015 and moved in at the end of January. Some of the stress of the tail end of ’16 was fading away as we charged forward in a new chapter in our lives. Then, a monumental event occurred a mere 6 weeks into the year, just two weeks after we moved to our new home. We were in a devastating car accident and our lives were nearly cut short. It was a painful event that defined our year. The aftermath of the accident took a toll on our lives in every way possible. An unforgettable horrifying moment that will forever stay with both of us. Thankfully our daughter was NOT with us that night, thankfully everyone survived, everyone is whole. And while Tim and I can never, ever forget the incident, we can move past it. In 2016 hope prevailed.

While the terror of that night brought devastation it also brought new mental awareness and a profound appreciation for life. It brought my husband and I closer, solidified our marriage and brought about a new brand of respect and appreciation…because we could have both so easily been lost that night but the gift of survival was bestowed upon us. So while I hate that the accident did happen, I do find hope and strength in the tender mercies that came with the chaos and pain.


Jax’s last visit with her Great Uncle Jimmy.

While we were recuperating from the events of that February night, my terminally ill uncle took a turn for the worse. My uncle lived with me and my mom throughout my later childhood. He was spending his final days in Prescott and I was too scared to drive to the grocery store let alone make the hour and a half trek up north to say goodbye and my husband was still nursing injuries that prevented him from driving at all. But this was important and Jimmy was asking for us so the Saturday before Easter, my husband and I piled our daughter, my sister, mom and grandma into my new car and made the short trip to see Uncle Jimmy. I was surprised to see him up, and walking around, lucid and engaging in conversation. I had been told he was incoherent and bedridden but the man we came to visit was relatively active and seemed happy. I had wanted to leave before nightfall, I was scared to drive home in the dark but we stayed for dinner. Uncle Jimmy had an appetite and a sense of humor. It was a nice dinner. We said goodbye hours after the sun set. I am thankful I overcame my fear of driving farther than I had been comfortable with since the accident, I am thankful we enjoyed dinner that night with my uncle and our family. I am thankful we did that for him, and for us. It was the last time he was coherent, he went to sleep that evening and never got out of bed again. He hung on another week, in and out of consciousness for a couple days and then slipped into that place between life and death. James Peter Moreno took his last breath exactly one week after our visit. I miss my uncle and have countless fond memories of him. He was a proud veteran with endless stories. He loved hot dogs and enjoyed cooking. He took pride in what he made and it was always delicious. He liked to do crafts with my mom. When Jax visited he enjoyed playing with her and giving her snacks. He wrapped Christmas presents with newspaper or plastic grocery bags. He always misspelled my name “Angle.” He was good man who fought personal demons and disease multiple times. He hovered on the brink of death on more than one occasion, even having been read his last rights before coming back and dumbfounding the doctors. He gave his final round a valiant go before peacefully slipping away. We miss him, Jax especially; she often speaks of him, usually our of nowhere. Sometimes she “writes” letters to him. Her wish for 2017 was for him to come back. I explained to her that he never really left and he lives in or hearts and minds. I told her she was lucky that her wish was already coming true. I am thankful for the appreciation I know my uncle felt for our visit. I am thankful Jax, Tim and I got to spend his last good day with him. I am thankful we got to say goodbye. I am thankful he no longer suffers. In 2016 gratitude and peace prevailed.

Throughout all of that I watched my daughter morph from a toddler to a little girl. She has grown more this past year than she has her entire life. Leaps and bounds of physical, mental, intellectual and emotional growth. Where she once threw tantrums, she now reasons and decides. Where she once chattered, she now articulates. She has displayed remarkable character, resilience and intelligence. She is breathtaking and her beauty radiates from within. She is shining bright and showing glimpses of the person she will become. I could not be happier to be her mama. On the marriage front – my husband and I have persevered through some of the toughest obstacles we have faced together and we did it with an unwavering bond. In addition, I’ve made more forever friends this year than I have made my entire life. Soulful and meaningful friendships with like-minded people. The kind of friends with whom conversation is effortless and flows easily. Friendships I can share with my husband and who we both value dearly. In 2016 abundance of the heart and soul prevailed.

Last year was tough, it took an emotional and physical toll and has left a permanent mark on my very being but more importantly lessons were learned, appreciation was found, friendships were forged and love remained. 2016, you weren’t such a beast after-all.

Welcome, 2017, please be kind and merciful to me and my loved ones. Let good outweigh grief. Allow success to outshine failures. Promote healing over hurt and love over hate. Deliver what fate has planned but please do so with tenderness and opportunity. May you be beautiful and blessed.


We miss and love you Uncle Jimmy. Watch over us and know we think of you often.

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