2014: A Retrospective in Brief

Boulder, CO Snowy Morning 

Boulder, CO Snowy Morning 

December 31: often a time to look forward to resolutions and plans for the coming year. It’s also a time to contemplate the year soon ending. I could not have anticipated on January 1, 2014 all the joys and sorrows that occurred these past twelve months. Lists do not do justice to the depth of emotions I experienced or to the incredible people with whom I shared friendships and philanthropic work or the time with my family, Doug, Christopher (and his wife, Kate) and Alex (and his girlfriend, Glory), and my mother, my brothers and sisters.

The year 2014 could have titled “Three Weddings and a Funeral.” Christopher and Kate welcomed friends and immediate family to a magical wedding ceremony at Milford Marsh in State College, PA, on June 7, 2014.  A nephew (Paul and Megan) and a niece (Kelly and Logan) also married this past summer. My mother (Eleanor Burgess) passed away on August 5, 2014 (the anniversary of my father’s birthday) after a brief illness. Anne, Janet, Bruce, Robert and I came together to care for her, enlightened by her indomitable spirit but sorrowed by her death. Our father would have been proud of us for taking care of his beloved wife, our mother, together, so willingly and without complaint. Robert, especially, was so tender and loving, spending almost a month with Mom before she passed away. We will never be able to thank him enough for that time.

We travelled to Sicily in February with Christopher and Kate. We finished the repair work on our Boulder house caused by the heavy rains of September 2013. Doug ran the Boston Marathon in celebration of “Boston Strong” in the wake of the prior year’s tragedies. I hiked mountains in Colorado, although no fourteeners yet (definitely a 2015 goal). We had several weekend visits and Thanksgiving week with the boys, Kate and Glory, the absolute best parts of our year! We walked, miles and miles of walks, an integral part of our daily lives.

We lived in Austin, Texas, for two years until the west coast’s pull became too strong: family, friends, community, the physicality and beauty of this part of the world. We feel as if we’re back home as we “repot” ourselves (as Doug would say) in Sonoma, although I miss the women of Impact Austin and the people of CASA of Travis County. I thank all those I met during our brief tenure in Austin for their generosity and friendship.

I’ve reconnected (or have on my schedule to do so) with friends and colleagues back here in California: the joy of being embraced in person, of friends glad I’m “local”again, is endearing and so appreciated.

My professional career is winding down, only a few legal projects in 2014; meanwhile, I have almost finished a short memoir that I hope to independently publish early this spring. I started a blog, a place to record my musings and reflections about nature, my days, family, most anything. 

I miss my parents; that goes without saying. I miss my boys but there will  be visits in southern California with Alex and the east coast with Christopher and Kate, maybe even some longer time in Boulder, the family retreat. I hope to get to the Pacific Northwest to visit my sisters and many of the Walla Walla connections that have resurfaced through Facebook.

Doug and I are ready to embrace 2015, hoping, perhaps, for a little more quiet and stability than 2014. We are blessed with this life.