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  • Kathryn Lee Martin

A Year In Review

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post for a while. Not because I don’t want to, or have nothing to say, but because this is an incredibly difficult time of the year for my family this year. It’s our first year without mom. For those of you who have been following in the journey, you know that we lost mom to breast cancer back in May of this year and they haven’t been the easiest months since.

There are days when I cry. Days when I question why this happened. Days where I get angry and bitter and just want the world to pay for what it’s done to us. Days where I fear I’ll lose even more people. Nothing can prepare you for the stages of grief they talk about and the many stages no one even knows about until you encounter them. I’m currently sitting at anger on my journey and have been since about July.

But this isn’t about that. This is about the holidays. Everyone I see is celebrating with their families, having a grand ol’ time, and so on. For us, there is one empty seat that can never be filled at our table. One less person who will be there Christmas morning unwrapping gifts and laughing with us. And it sucks. It really, really sucks. I don’t know how this first Christmas without mom is going to go. People have told me that it’ll be different. That it’ll feel weird and to try to make it as normal as possible. Which is what we’re going to try to do. But it’s going to be hard emotionally.

Mom loved Christmas. This was her favorite time of year. Putting up a tree was difficult this year. Seeing her stocking when I was pulling out Christmas decorations from storage was hard. Knowing that even though we’re doing the traditions we always did, she’s not here with us to enjoy them. It’s not fair. And yet, a part of me knows that where she is right now, she’s probably having the greatest Christmas of her entire life. Mom was a believer. She’s in a good place.

But that doesn’t make it easier for us. Sure it brings some closure and smiles knowing that she’s happy and cancer free. But she’s not here with us physically. There will be new traditions we start because of this. New ways of adjusting to this new normal that has gripped us for the past seven months. New traditions that will be spawned from years yet to come.

2018 was a rough year. There were good things, like books debuting, and bestsellers, and getting to do things I never thought I’d get to do. But for the most part, all of that was overshadowed by cancer and crippling loss. I didn’t enjoy 2018. And, looking back, I never really will either. It and everything in it is a loss to me, a fog that I just sort of wandered through. 2019 may or may not be better or worse. I’ve given up thinking the new year will be better than the one we’re preparing to leave. But that’s a few weeks off and right now I’m just trying to get through Christmas.

The next few weeks will be difficult for my family and me. And I’ve elected to take off from doing any sorts of writing, publishing, editing work on the books to cope with this new normal until at least the new year. I need time with my family. We need time to process this, to work through it together, and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to celebrate Christmas in ways only we know how—as a family. And I know, somewhere up there, mom is smiling down on us and will be with us in spirit as we remember her on this first Christmas with her being gone.

With the year winding down, this will be the last blog post until the new year. 2019 promises to bring more books debuting and more exciting new projects I can't wait to share with you all as well. So many good things in the writing world. But that's in 2019. Right now, let's just get through 2018's remainder. So from my family to yours, have a wonderful, merry, blessed and joyful Christmas, and I’ll see you in the new year.

- Ryn

Bestselling Author of Steampunk Fantasy
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