The year of 2009 was the hardest year of my life, thus far. I rang in the 2009 New Year by surviving four, painful wisdom teeth extractions. So, I should’ve known the following twelve months were going to suck. In January, my father was laid off from his stressful, yet stable job. My family went from having three cars to two, with three drivers. We had to watch what we spent on groceries and clothes; we cut out going to Clemson games and vacations. At the end of January, I turned twenty while my great-grandmother slowly let go of her long life. She died on February 5th; her wake was the first of several I’d attend that year and the first significant death I was old enough to understand. Ten days later, my great-grandfather went with her, not wanting to live without her. This was a double blow to my family.
Then, at the end of March, I received news that Amber, my best friend in high school hanged herself on a rainy Tuesday. I hadn’t talked to her in three years. It was surreal that the next time I saw her, she was being lowered in the ground on a Sunday afternoon. All I can remember are my limbs shaking, and my heels sinking into the soft earth. The first three months of 2009 were gut-wrenching. I’d lost three people in two months. It must’ve been entirely too many embalmed bodies at once, because two days after Amber’s funeral, my appendix gave out. I spent the beginning part of my spring break at Trident Hospital, enjoying the numbness of morphine while my appendix was removed. Ironically, my surgery was the day after I got my acceptance letter to the College of Charleston. I attribute my appendicitis to the frozen dinner I had twenty-four hours before my surgery and to the immense amount of grief I was enduring.
During all of this, I was going to school full time at Trident Tech and working twenty hours a week. During the summer of 2009, I worked two jobs and took two classes—had very little time off before I started my adventure at CofC. Deciding to get my Bachelor’s Degree for English and Creative Writing was a huge decision when I had only planned on getting my Associate’s Degree. Commuting from Goose Creek to Downtown five days a week was definitely something to get used to, along with the outrageous parking pass fees. Yet, I survived my first semester, and at the end of 2009, I finally broke off a three-year relationship that was causing nothing but further drama in my life.
2009 was a very difficult year: physically, emotionally, and mentally, but I am able to look back and reflect on all the challenges I got through. If I can endure deaths, economic troubles, and the loss of an organ, then I know I’ll get through—somehow.