Reflecting on 2009

'Tis the season for year on review stuff. I've never been big on that, but I'm home tonight and have nothing else going, so hey... why not?

The year 2009 in my hockey life pretty much mirrored my real life. Ups and downs all year.

For Mathieu, that was pretty exaggerated. He had terrible lows to begin the season with Atlanta, then an incredible resurgence after the trade to Montreal. He was injured and needed surgery, then he signed with a new team for one more year. And now... well, yeah, right now is a supreme, and yet to be resolved, low.

For Brad, my other guy, the year started with lows, as he broke his wrist and then broke his other hand in his first game back from the first injury. These were pretty much the first injuries he had in his career. He spent the summer recouping and training in Florida, and came back in the new season on fire. Remaining in the top 10 in overall league scoring for the whole season. But despite the performance, he was just passed over for the Canadian Olympic team. {added: he picked up another 3 points tonight; take that Team Canada}

In my life, it was the year I think I really realized my sister is gone. She was in a serious accident in 2003 when a drunk driver ran into her. She suffered massive head trauma and barely survived. The doctors warned us that the part of her brain that she injured was the personality part, and that if she recovered enough to be cognitive, she'd be a different person. She did recover enough to be a cognitive and functional, if still very challenged, person, but she's not the same person. Maybe 2010 will be the year I come to terms with that, but 2009 was the year I finally realized that the Jennifer I knew is gone forever. I hope I can learn to like this new person, but it is not easy.

The beginning of the year also saw a radical change in my middle nephew. He and his brothers have lived with my parents since the accident rendered my sister unable to care for them. The middle boy has always been a challenge pretty much since he was a toddler. Terrible tragedies happening at young ages (his father's death in 2002, his mother's accident a year later) didn't help matters. Things fell apart in 2009. At only 13 years old, he was ditching school every day, shoplifting, stealing from my parents, running away. The police were at the house, I think, 7 times. In June, he was remanded to temporary state custody. He was at juvenile hall for several weeks, and is now at a residential school community for troubled kids. We all hope that this finally provides the help that he needs.

Despite those emotional drains, I had some of the highest highs. I conquered my first black diamond ski slope. And survived. I presented research at a national conference in Seattle. I went on an Alaskan cruise. I visited Washington, D.C for the first time. I saw U2 in concert in Las Vegas. I watched my eldest nephew graduate from high school. I welcomed a new little critter into my world with the birth of my friends' first child. I enjoyed the spunky Pittsburgh Penguins slay Goliath and take home the Stanley Cup. And I went to Montreal for the NHL draft... and had the best weekend of my life. I had lunch with one of my hockey idols, scored a goal in a ball hockey game (the first time I ever really used a hockey stick), and met some of the coolest people ever! I made some absolutely great new friends.

So, this year was ok. It wasn't the greatest, it wasn't the worst. It will be remembered, but I look forward to whatever 2010 has to offer.

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