I really have mixed feelings about re-capping this year. It's been a pretty crazy year, and, sadly, I'm not sure if it's for the better. I lost some people I loved dearly this year. But at the same time, I've had some great times with family this year. So let's start at the beginning, shall we?
January: New Year's day came as it usually does and was, for me, again a solemn occasion. Since Jimmy's death, it has seemed the new years are not good things, but rather scary things. I can't quite explain that one, but it's another year he won't live in. The change to 2011 was the worst, but last year still felt like too much change. A friend of mine made promises to me that night that less than two months later he failed to keep. It's a little bit scary to me how much changed within the first three months of 2012. Looking back, I wish I would have enjoyed New Year's Eve more than I did. I didn't know it then, but it would be the last time I saw my Uncle Drew. Five days into the new year, my dear family friend, Harry, passed away. Harry was one of the first people to support me in my writing. He always cheered me on and would write me letters telling me to never give up. I have one of those letters framed now. It is still weird to think I'll never see him again - although, I know that he is no longer in pain. My "Drunk in the Walker" as I came to jokingly call him, will now support me from Heaven. On the 7th, my family and I had a surprise Welcome Home party and escort for my USMC cousin who had just returned home from Afghanistan. It was a great day. I believe I have recapped it somewhere on this blog, so I won't say much. Around the 21st, my cousin got engaged to his wonderful girlfriend and they are due to be married this coming year. And, of course, I got my camera in January of last year.
February: February was pretty quiet. My baby cousin turned one on the seventh and we celebrated his first birthday the following weekend. My friend, Abby, and I went to Winter Formal which will probably never happen again. Hardly anyone we knew were there. The 28th marked the one year anniversary of me writing Catch Me - which is sort of on hold - and that's about it.
March: Easily the worst month of the year. I wish this month had never happened. On March 7th, my Uncle Drew was in Louisville, Kentucky, doing a comedy show. That Wednesday night, he called my grandma (his sister) and told her he'd been having chest pains. She finally convinced him to go to the hospital and out of humor, he decided to go to the Jewish hospital because he'd "always wanted to go to one of them." He didn't know it then, but that hospital was the only hospital anywhere near him that had the machine that kept him "alive" until his family could get there. Thursday morning, my mom's phone rang as I was putting on my make-up - it was the ringtone reserved for my grandma, who I knew was never up at 6am. I was told that he was in the hospital, though I didn't understand my mom when she told me. I thought she was talking about another uncle that had been sick that I didn't really know. It wasn't until we were going out to the bus and my dad was talking about it that I figured out it was Drew. I went to school that day heartbroken and scared to death. But we didn't know how serious it was then. Friday night, I went to Kentucky to see him in the hospital. It's something I don't like to think about - I don't want to remember him that way. But my Uncle Drew passed away that Saturday, the 10th, around 3:20pm. His services were the following week - the week of my Ohio Graduation Tests. I didn't do as well on those as I probably could have. The rest of the month was pretty uneventful. My grandparents came home from Florida after having been gone for 3 months.
April: The month started with spring break and on the 5th, the friend I've had the longest came over and we went to see The Hunger Games. That night we had a talk that was long-over due and I think we both realized we shouldn't let people drive us apart. On the 11th, my dad and Uncle went to see Scotty Bratcher play at a benefit they had for my Uncle Drew. Scotty was a good friend of Drew's and I met him the night of the visitation. Out of everything that happened, meeting him and becoming a fan of his music is probably the only plus other than realizing how precious my family and life is. That night, Scotty broke a guitar string, which my dad brought home to me. It's hanging on my wall as a reminder that even though sometimes we break, we have to keep playing. On the 14th, I spent the night at my Nana's and we watched movies until the early morning. The 17th marked two years since I had seen my cousin, Jimmy. On the 20th, I went to see Scotty Bratcher play for the very first time with my aunt, uncle, and brother. It was a great show, I just couldn't see anything from where I sat (there was a wall-type-thing in the way). On the 21st, I went to the Ohio State spring game with my cousins and my brother. I love it there. On the 28th, I volunteered at the Walk for Lupus, celebrated my cousin's birthday, and I stayed over at my Uncle Drew and Aunt Mickie's house and babysat their two boys.
May: On the 9th, I presented the first SGT James C. Robinson Memorial Scholarship (Shabooms) at the school Jimmy graduated from. On the 11th, I went to see Dark Shadows with my friend, Emily. (Which was the last time I've seen her!!!!!!!!! Not cool.) On the 24th, Jimmy would have turned 29. The last week of May and into June, I had my final exams for my sophomore year of high school.
June: Sophomore year ended uneventfully and the following week I started the class room portion of Driver's Ed. Six days of Driver's Ed first thing in the morning. It wasn't fun. On the 8th, my Uncle Bill (who I had thought had been the one to have a heart attack in March) passed away. We left for Myrtle Beach on the 10th and I turned 16 on the beach (well, actually, I turned 16 inside of the Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop) on the 14th. We left the following day and on the way home, I was told that my cousin in Kentucky had been in a motorcycle accident. Pam died that night, leaving her daughter, Sasha. My heart broke knowing the pain of losing a mother - and knowing it had to be worse having had about 19 years with her mom. Uncle Bill's memorial was the following day. The 17th was Father's Day and my dad, my brother, and I went to Cincinnati to see Scotty Bratcher play at a Father's Day celebration that was going on. On the 18th, my sister turned 5, but I was on my way to Kentucky that day (and was very sick) for Pam's services on the 18th and 19th. It was good to see people I hadn't in years, but not under those circumstances. On the 22nd, I saw Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter with my dad and brother. On the 23rd, we had the 2nd Annual Shabooms Ride, which was a great day.
July: Not a whole lot happened in July. On the 21st, we had a motorcycle ride for Drew and raised a lot of money for his two boys' college funds. Some of Drew's comedian friends performed and so did Scotty Bratcher. On the 29th, we had a SGT Jimmy night at a local bar that opened its doors to us on a Sunday and let us have music, food, etc.
August: The 3rd of August marked two years since my Granny died. I left two roses on her grave for the two years she'd been in Heaven. My family and I went to a Scotty Bratcher show that night, as well (what can I say? He's pretty good.) On the 4th, my daddy celebrated another birthday and I left with my brother and cousins for my family reunion in Kentucky. It was a great weekend and I had so much fun. It was so great to see some of my rarely seen cousins all together. On the 19th, we had a pig roast and car show for Jimmy's scholarship fund. It was a great day filled with music from Justus and Scotty Bratcher - their time was completely donated by them and we raised a good deal of money for the fund. It was probably my favorite fundraiser we've ever done. I started school the following week and began my junior year of high school. Which is still crazy to me. On the 28th, we honored Jimmy's second angelversary.
September: Of course in September I recognized the anniversaries of Jimmy's homecoming and services in a post here. I also cut ties with a previous friend, as reflected upon here. On the 7th, a family friend, my "adopted brother," deployed to Afghanistan. On the 13th, another one of Jimmy's friends deployed to Afghanistan. On the 14th, I recognized what would have been my Mommy's 49th birthday. That night, my family and I went to see Scotty Bratcher play and my friend, Elizabeth, went with us and fell in love with Scotty's music. On the 22nd, my cousin turned 5. On the 26th, my dad bought us our first car (a yellow 2000 VW Beetle) and on the 28th we picked it up. I started in-car on the 29th. I also lost my Jimmy button in the car that day, but thankfully, my instructor found it and returned it to me.
October: On the 6th, I went to homecoming - which was fun. The 8th marked the 13th anniversary of my mom's death. The 9th would have been my parents' 30th wedding anniversary. On the 13th we had a bonfire which was attended by some misc. people and was super fun. On the 15th, I got to meet JOHN GREEN thanks to my wonderful friend, Abby (I recapped that here). On the 18th, my school offered REDO day for my class (respect everyone despite odds). It was such a great experience, I just wish people would keep the attitudes we all left with that day. On the 23rd, I found out my Uncle Junior was in the hospital. He was in for a week or two, and is now home, but is still sick. And then, of course, on the 31st was Halloween, although the local trick-or-treat night was on the 30th.
November: In this month I set out to participate in NaNoWriMo, which didn't go at all well. On the 2nd, I went to Leanna Renee Hieber's book signing for The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart. It was lovely to see her, as always. On the 10th, we had the 2nd Annual Spaghetti Dinner for Jimmy's scholarship. Not only was it a great night in which I got to see my friends, family, and some of my "adopted" relatives (two of the guys that served with Jimmy and another guy's dad), we also raised a lot of money that night and hopefully a lot of awareness. It was a great night full of love, laughter, dancing ( :D ), and wrapping paper fights. It was a rough night emotionally, but I really realized how far we've come, how much farther we can go, and how loved Jimmy will always be. He will not be forgotten. The following day was Veteran's Day and I got to spend some time with three former military men at Jimmy's grave. On the 16th, my friend, myself, and our moms went to see Breaking Dawn: Part II on release night. It was bitter sweet to see the series that inspired me come to an end. That night I posted on FaceBook: "So don't judge me here, but Twilight was the first book to inspire a love for reading and a curiosity for writing in me. Say what you want about the book, its author, or its movie adaptations, but it is rather bitter-sweet to see the series come to an end. I will never forget what it did for me because who I am and where I'm at today is partially thanks to Stephenie Meyer and her dream-inspired series. Which, coincidentally, inspired dreams of my own." On the 19th, I was honored and privileged enough to be inducted into National Honor Society. It was an oddly emotional thing for me because for the first time in my life, it really hit me that my mom - and Jimmy - would never be there for the important events of my life. Of course Thanksgiving soon followed and I got to spend time with my family - I actually had a lot of family come in from out of state because on the 24th, we got to celebrate my Great-Great-Grandma's birthday. She turned 100 on the 25th. Also on the 24th, OSU beat that team up north. So, you know, good day. The 29th would have been Uncle Drew's 48th birthday, so that was a hard day. We went to the cemetery for a little bit. I think that was definitely a day when things really sunk in.
December: I just want to say that this recap is going nearly as fast as this year did. On the 6th, my baby cousin turned 2 - which is impossible to believe. On the 8th, my Great Aunt and Uncle came in town and we went to the cemetery with them to decorate Mom and Jimmy's graves for Christmas. On the 12th (yes 12/12/12) I got my license! On the 14th, my mom, her friend, our cousin, my dad, and myself went to see Scotty Bratcher and the Danny Frazier Band at a local bar/bowling alley. It was such a great show. I hadn't planned on staying for the whole thing, but my dad and I ended up being there until the show was over and then some. I think we left about 1:30am. On the 15th, I got to see some of my family from Hazard, however briefly as I had had an APUSH class that morning. (Yes, a Saturday morning history class. 8am-11am. Not at all fun. Especially after being out that late the night before. But it was worth it.) The 18th marked the one year anniversary of my USMC cousin coming home from Afghanistan, so that was exciting. On the 21st, the world didn't end, so that was pretty cool. Then I was off for Christmas break and got to spend time with family and friends.
And now? Here we are. At the end of another year.
My junior year of high school is nearly half-way over. That's a scary thought. You know, when you're little you always think about growing up. How different you'll look, what you'll be, who you'll date, what kind of house you'll live in, and all that kind of stuff. But what you don't realize is how fast you get there. And how different you turn out than what you imagined.
If you told 8 year old me that at 16 she would have endured so much heartache, so many losses, have written a full (if not crappy) novel and started a few others, learned so much about life and herself, given up on singing because she realized she couldn't sing, never have had a boyfriend, never been kissed, kept some friends but lost others, and enjoy listening to the Blues, I don't think she would have believed you. I can hardly believe it now.
I think every year changes us and teaches us some things. This year has taught me to laugh. To live. I think my personality has changed this year, and I hope that's for the better. My life focuses have changed and I also hope that that's for the better.
Every year has its ups and downs, and this year is no exception. I've lost people this year - both to death and to breaks that could not be mended. But I also lived and loved this year. I don't know that those necessarily balance out, but they've both changed me.
And as always, I hope it's for the better.
Here's to a wonderful New Year!
p.s. There are several links to various websites in this post. If a musician or author mentioned caught your fancy, please be sure to visit their site by clicking the hyper-linked (and underlined) name. Don't forget to check out their music/books if you do. Scotty, Leanna, Justus, John Green, and the Danny Frazier Band are all amazing people and definitely deserve some more love. They didn't ask me to say this or link them, they just happened to be in my life and make it into my year-end recap. So show 'em some love. Also, the website for Jimmy's scholarship fund is linked where Shabooms is first mentioned, so if you feel inclined to get involved in that or whatever, please do. Happy New Year, y'all.