A love letter to 2016

Oh, hello 2017, how’s it going? People sure are glad to meet you. Of course, I am too but I’m not as down on 2016 as everyone else seems to be. I mean sure, there was the whole Trump thing and a large number of celebrities died so it was “a bad year for music” if the headlines are to be believed. And shitty things happened every where just like they do every year but I’m still not able to write off 2016.

In fact, I’m never able to write off a year because every year is full of bad things but also amazingly beautiful moments. I feel like 2016 was full of moments of such breathtaking beauty that I’m going to share them.

  • I didn’t die. That’s a pretty big one. As Al Pacino said in Scarface: “Any day above ground is a good day.” I made it to my 41st birthday.
  • The whole community around me rallied to help us get through chemotherapy. Food arrived, packages were sent, help was offered. And even though I was so sick I barely remember last winter, I do remember the overwhelming feeling of friendship and love from everyone.
  • We pulled the girls out of school and went on an amazing road trip and went to places I had never been before but had always wanted to see (like Salt Spring Island). We saw friends and family along the way and had many adventures.
  • Mister and I took our first child-free vacation since becoming a mom and went to ANOTHER place I had always wanted to go before: Newfoundland.
  • I got to spend more time with my parents than I had in years – once when they came out to help while I was going through chemo and again when I felt better and took the girls to Ontario for a month last summer.
  • My daughters grew and grew and became funnier and more beautiful every day. Sure, some days they also make me cry but I’m pretty sure they make me laugh more than they make me cry.
  • TWO daughters are now in full-day school. This is wonderful thing.
  • I read some amazing books.
  • We went from potty-training to being completely diaper-free (even at night) in less than a year.
  • I joined a choir, which is probably the best form of therapy I can have right now. The surprise in all this was that I really enjoy the sermons at that particular church. So now my BFF have a standing date on Sunday mornings to go together (when I’m not singing) which means I get to see her every week.
  • I completed a story I had been working on for a long time. That was the first time I wrote something longer than an article or a blog post to completion. Another two stories are currently in the works.
  • I started blogging again, even if it is sporadic.
  • Still not dead.

So, 2016 you were pretty good in spite of all the horrible things going on in the world. Whenever I feel down about things (a year of terrible hair, still have terminal cancer)  I just need to look at my amazing life. And then I think with horror that there was probably a mom in Aleppo with a number of children AND cancer who was terrified for her life and theirs. I think she is allowed to say that 2016 was a terrible year, but you won’t hear it from me.

I’m welcoming 2017 with big open arms, and a lot of hope in my heart.

What are your hopes/plans/prayers for 2017?

  17 Replies to “A love letter to 2016”

  1. Gwen
    January 3, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I also didn’t die in 2016. I also made it to my 41st birthday. My hope for 2017 is to also not die. That would be really great. Happy New Year, Melanie.

    • January 3, 2017 at 11:55 am

      Go Team Terminal Cancer Moms! You also went on a child-free vacation to the Maritimes, right? (Also, I owe you a long beautiful letter to match your long beautiful letter and your short beautiful letter. It is on my to-do list honest. I’m not sure I can match the beauty of yours though.)

  2. January 3, 2017 at 11:57 am

    Love this! I think my plans for 2017 also entail the not dying bit which would be super fantastic!! Sounds like you had a lovely year, experiencing many beautiful moments with those you love. Wishing you a very happy, healthy 2017:).

  3. January 3, 2017 at 12:11 pm


    Your blog makes me cry. Some tears of sadness, but mostly tears of joy for you. Your writing is exquisite. I look forward to reading your stories, and I believe there will be many. You have gone through a lot but still come out “sunny side up”. Good on ya girl!

    Much love and the fingers are still crossed and crescented.


  4. January 3, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I am grateful for a lovely moody afternoon with you this summer. So glad you’re here. xoxoxo

  5. Nancy
    January 3, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Beautiful perspective and I hope you don’t mind me sharing. There is a ton of negative posts, blogs and articles on 2016! I prefer not to read them. I’m happy and grateful to be reacquainted with you even if just to read your Blogs. I truly enjoy them. Thanks Mel! All the best for 2017 and keep singing!!

  6. January 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Hooray for not dying. And for reading and writing and awful parenting days and good ones and all the other amazing things that make life what it is. Here’s to 2017. Much love.

  7. Ginny
    January 3, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Your blog is great. We are so lucky you refused you refused to die. We love having you in our lives and the mister and the girls love and need you. Have a wonderful 2017.

  8. Dan Masterson
    January 3, 2017 at 8:14 pm


    A really uplifting post. I am also alive even though in Dec 2013 I was told I had 6 months to live. But immune enhancement drugs worked and I am still alive. Even my brain still works, although some would disagree, I’m sure! Have a great year of singing and communion with God. Love to the girls.


  9. January 4, 2017 at 1:24 am

    I so enjoy your writing!

    Yep. Still here too. I think that every day. I don’t have a terminal illness I just think everyday wow a new day.

    Here’s to a new year of living, loving and hope. XOX

  10. jac
    January 4, 2017 at 4:14 am

    I am pleased you did not die. I also covet the bird jumper. That might be a goal for 2017. xx

  11. Johanna
    January 4, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Beautiful post
    And your right 2016 wasn’t really all that bad or different than any other year. For some of us it was an amazing year 🙂 wedding and a brand new house for me 🙂 a brand new life really

  12. Ghyslaine Leroy
    January 4, 2017 at 9:19 am

    Amazing post, Melanie. And hear hear! 2016 was a good year on my home front too. I wholeheartedly agree that while every year has profoundly bad moments, these same years are tickled with an abundance of smaller beautiful moments worthy of adding up to see that they out weigh the bad.

    I am glad you have enjoyed your 41st birthday. Here’s to 42!

  13. January 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    You are the best. So glad you’re writing again..and above ground! 🙂

  14. February 9, 2017 at 12:02 am

    I’m really pleased to see you’re blogging again. Your recent post on what literature has taught you was spot on. Thanks for that. I too managed to post something after 4 months, and I have a list of non-cancer related material I keep meaning to get to, but sometimes I haven’t got words to say, or simply couldn’t be bothered if I do! I did curse 2016, but I also made sure to remember the good. I’m also still here. 🙂

  15. ML
    February 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

    Personally, as a fellow stage IV er, I have taken
    ‘terminal’ and ‘ incurable ‘ out of my dialogue.
    I believe in the whole mind body connection and that a little denial goes a long way.

  16. June 5, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    You touched my heart.
    Much love to you
    Michele (lifeinpix)

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