The year 2014 was a year of struggles and health challenges for me. Fortunately, none of them were seriously life threatening. An incredible number of people deserve thanks for their help, encouragement, compassion, and kind deeds during the year 2014. At the risk of leaving someone out, here are some who deserve my and our unbounded thanks:
- First, and most important, I owe thanks beyond words to my wife for her kindness, patience, forbearance, and calmness through all of my trials and tribulations this year. She sat up with me nights with severe vertigo and with abrupt hearing loss. She scolded me when I needed to be scolded. She endured countless hours in doctors' waiting rooms and exam rooms despite her own chronic pain. She took care of me when I came home from the hospital to recover from the imbalance and unwiring I received from vertigo. Her caring love and compassion are firmly implanted in my consciousness forever.
- My children helped when they could, providing transportation to appointments, errands and home chores, bringing us back to St. George for the winter, phone calls for encouragement, and many other things.
- My sisters and brother provided encouragement and helps of various kinds. My sister Ann was my Costco runner, bringing a monthly load of treasures from Costco during the months when I and my wife were unable to go. My other sisters called on the phone frequently to check on me, researched medical stuff and passed it on, and generally provided a continual gift of love and encouragement.
- Many doctors, nurses, MRI techs, oral surgeons, took care of me in so many ways and often provided the encouragement and clarity I needed to cope with all of the mysterious forces that seemed to be clouding my life.
- Neighbors in St. George and Salt Lake provided chicken soup, cookies, hot dishes, encouragement, and love and support in so many ways. Rolling out the garbage can, bringing newspapers to the front door each morning, planting tomato plants in the spring, offering to run errands and help in any way possible are only some of the gifts these wonderful people gave to us.
- Members and leaders of our Church showed continual concern and provided both mental and spiritual strength to help remain calm and optimistic about the future.
- My wife's sisters Beth and Evetta came to Salt Lake from Provo every Saturday to take her to lunch and to help her buy groceries and run errands when I could do nothing myself. Their willingness to take so much time (and buy so much expensive gas) are blessings my wife and I will long remember.
- For six months, I basically was unable to go anywhere except a couple of trips to the doctors. When I finally found my bearings and could go to the grocery store as long as I could push a grocery cart, I experienced many, many acts of kindness from people who saw I was struggling and helped in various ways. To all of these anonymous and kind souls I express thanks for unloading groceries, retrieving items I could not find, or perhaps just offered a cheerful smile and a word of encouragement. My wife has the strange idea that you need a list in order to go shopping. My idea, very enlightened, is that I don't know what I need until I see it. Needless to say, I can spend a lot more money at the store than my wife can.
- And, oh yes, I and my wife abundantly thank the Good Lord above for blessing us with a continued remission in her health status and for overcoming my various health challenges.
The fact that I emerged on this last day of 2014 relatively unscathed from the long list of potential serious health disasters, is a huge and incredible blessing. We pray more when we are afraid, and I have prayed more these past years with my wife's medical challenges and my own than I have the rest of my life. Maybe we get demerits up there when we pray out of desperation, but we gain strength ourselves as we reflect on the faith that has brought us thus far and the faith that we must continue to strengthen to remain calm and hopeful in the days ahead.
To all who have helped us in so many ways, who have shown love and compassion and understanding, who have used the right words to give us an anchor to hope, we say thank you and thank you again. May you all have a wonderful New Year. And may the Utah Jazz win a few more games and the BYU Cougars have a successful remaining season, in basketball, both men's and women's. And will the snow that was supposed to fall in St. George today, but blessedly did not, please stay far, far away. Now, time to wait for the New Year and drink our $1.99 bottle of sparkling cider to acknowledge that we have passed another milestone in our lives. Happy New Year to all. The Curmudgeonly Professor and Mrs. Curmudgeonly Professor.