Dear 2019

Dear 2019,

You have been a tough one. Actually, even the couple years before you too. I lost my husband Danny at the end of 2018. His grandmother passed in the summer of 2016. His father died suddenly March 11th, 2017, 18 months before Danny himself to the day. Danny’s cousin lost his battle to addiction 2 months after Danny lost his. I lost my uncle unexpectedly in May to a major heart attack. I’ve watched my family hurt and struggle deeply amidst all of the loss over the last few years. You have stripped me raw, exposing my most intense and earth-shattering emotions. Much of it has been about survival. I have experienced all of my “firsts” without my spouse and partner…the holidays, the birthdays, the anniversaries. I’ve cried more than I have in all my years alive on this planet. Looking back, it feels like a blur. But oddly enough, as strange as it may sound, things couldn’t be clearer.

My whole entire world was flipped upside down when we lost Danny. I know this may sound outrageous, but even though you have been the hardest chapter of my life thus far, in many ways, you have been the most monumental and beautiful. I am talking about the experience of transformation…when something so drastic or so catastrophic comes barreling through and demolishing so much of how you perceived life and all of its intricacies. The vision I had for my life and my future shattered into a million pieces. But in this, I have grown. I have changed forever. And what I have learned this year comes as a result of incredible loss and pain. But in that, there is beauty. I see the world and everything in it from a completely different lens now. I want to share with you what I have not only learned, but have truly grown to value and believe with conviction as a result of my up and down rollercoaster journey of grief.

  1. Let go of the small stuff. Why worry? It does absolutely nothing. What will be will be. Believe it or not, so much of it is small stuff. Will it matter in one week, one month, one year?

  2. Do not judge. You may be surprised where you find yourself one day. Never say never.

  3. Be kind and forgive. Check your intentions. Let go of anger…it does nothing but hurt you. It’s all good. You are not more powerful than karma anyway.

  4. Trust your gut. It’s called intuition- allow yourself to be still sometimes so you can practice and tap into it.

  5. Your worth comes from within and not from anyone else. You are enough…empower and strength yourself by looking inward. Humans are imperfect by nature so you cannot place your power in another’s hands. Find your spiritual connection…you are perfectly safe there.

  6. Go where your energy is reciprocated and appreciated. You deserve to be honored and respected. Everyone has the intrinsic desire to connect with others. So, get out there and connect. There are many who will embrace and value your energy. Follow the good vibes.

  7. Don’t take life too seriously. Have fun. Learn to laugh at yourself. Own your mistakes and keep it moving. Give yourself a break and chill. It’s going to be okay.

  8. Use your voice. Believe in it with your whole heart and people will listen. People can sense authenticity and passion. All you have to do is tell the truth, so be honest and real. The sky is the limit through genuineness.

  9. Cherish each day. Every morning you wake up is a gift. I have never valued the air in my lungs more than I do now. Remember what matters…you can’t take things with you when it’s your time. Don’t chase the insignificant stuff, or you will consistently feel unfulfilled.

  10. And lastly (although I must censor what I usually say because of the platform, so I am sure you get the gist), “forget fear.” What’s the worst that could possibly happen? Get out of your own way and do it. Don’t doubt yourself for one moment. Move forward with confidence. Tell yourself it will happen and BELIEVE IT. This is happening in my life all over the place…and it will happen for you too. It sure does help to have a guardian angel or two up there ☺

Now do I practice all of these perfectly? NO! Of course not. I am human and fall short daily. I have always known it’s a good idea to live by the above values and principles. But what’s cool is that now, after everything that has happened, I wholeheartedly FEEL these values in the deepest core of my being. 2019, you have gifted me with a pretty awesome soul transformation. And I have heard this before, but the sky looks a whole lot different when someone you love is up there. It is so true. Every moment down here feels a little more special and a little more valued after losing someone so close and so suddenly.

As I step into 2020, I am grateful that despite the fact you have been the roughest year of my life, I have connected inward so deeply, so spiritually, that I am ready and excited to live. I want to fall back in love with life again, in a way that I never knew possible. And because of the lessons you’ve uncovered for me, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

Life is too short, guys. I found a quote a few months ago and it has become one of my absolute favorites: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” I want to leave this world when it’s my time having appreciated all that truly matters…living in love, truth, and positive energy. Thank you, 2019, for showing me in the most raw and priceless way, that that’s where the good stuff is.

It’s been real.



Written by: Julie Funkhouser, Co-Founder & CEO of The Recovery Connection