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Solstice End of Year Reflection: What’s Really Important?

This has been a hard year.

My mom was diagnosed with ALS in February, followed by two feeding tube surgeries, a move back east and rapidly progressing symptoms. One sibling had a bad fall with complications. Another sibling needed a brain surgery and still needs a different surgery.

And yesterday, the longest night of the year, I’d started my year-in-review that often morphs into  me beating myself up about all the things I didn’t accomplish that I intended to, like:

  • only 16 blog posts/28 newsletters instead of 52
  • no speaking gigs
  • just a few books sold and no marketing plan
  • still piles and piles of mama’s files to be gone through
  • my messy, messy house

The list of what didn’t get done, or done well, could go on and on.

Then, this morning I read an article that made me cry. In it a hospice chaplain explains what people want to talk about when they die, and how it is different than what he expected as a young seminary student.

He made so many good points about love, families, connection. love bigger than fearWhat matters.

People weren’t discussing big spiritual questions or their professional accomplishments.

They talked about their families.

The ones they came from.

The ones they made.

The ones they adopted or created from communities of friends.

The ones they longed for.

The ones they missed.


What’s really important?

Learning to love.



Celebrating possibility.

Supporting each other in our quest to be truly ourselves and being able to share ourselves and love with others.

So, maybe I could reflect again. Differently.

Instead of looking at all the things I didn’t do and goals I didn’t meet, maybe I could look at what I did that really mattered.

  • I provided a lot of family support – both hands on and long distance
  • I made new close relationships with my niece and her family
  • I took time to make some new fun memories with my hubby and son
  • I reconnected with some old friends
  • I finished the workbook and journal when mom could still hold them in her hands and turn the pages

Could I have done more? Been more organized? Been better at…?


But most of us are doing the best we can at the moment.

And like Maya Angelou said, when we learn more we can do better.

But maybe, for today, look back on your year with compassion and gratitude.

What if you give yourself the space to reflect and focus on what matters?

You might need to make some changes to create that space.

You might want to challenge assumptions about how you “should” spend your time or what your goals and metrics “should” be and comparisons you make.

You might decide to re-examine your priorities, or not.

What did you focus on this past year?

What were your wins? 

What did you learn?

What  are you grateful for?

finding moments of joy in the ALS journey mama and great granson at

I am so grateful for all of my families, given and created, and especially for my niece and her family whose love is much bigger than their fear and know how to enjoy the little things.  They deserve a special shoutout for putting as much joy as possible into the ALS journey for their Grammy.

Thanks for reading my reflection. I’d love to hear yours.

With much love and gratitude,


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