The Year In Review: 2015 – Part 1

A 2015 Year in Review in March of 2016? Yes I know I’m late to the party on this one, but there are reasons. Honestly, I initially wasn’t going to do a Year in Review, because my blogging fell off tremendously, and I was dealing with a lot in my personal life. But I did want to reflect on what did happen on the blog here, as well as what happened to me, as I think there are many ways in which it’s related to my blogging (or lack thereof). It’s also a bit cathartic for me, so bear with me. I’ll handle the personal stuff first, so we can end on a high note of blog silliness.

Engaged on April Fool's Day. She made this fool's day by saying yes.
Engaged on April Fools’ Day. She made this fools’ day by saying yes.

The year 2015 started off well enough for me. My girlfriend (and now fiancée…but more on that later) moved in with me. You might know her if you are a regular here: fellow blog writer (and behind the scenes editor) Laura Pennace. We started out as friends and colleagues, but it grew into something so much more, much more special, over the years. Moving in together was a big step in our relationship. As I was renting from my grandparents at the time and paying a low rent, it seemed a good way for us to pool our resources and save some money over the next few years so we could get married and possibly buy a house. The move went smoothly, despite a very cold and slushy moving day, and I quickly went from having a bachelor pad to sharing my place with my girl and 2 crazy cats.

Several weeks later, my grandmother fell very ill. She had not been in the healthiest condition of her life in the months prior, but this time was different. My grandfather woke me up a little after 3:00am, and I was downstairs helping her get ready for the ambulance. I rode with them to the hospital, until my mother, their angel through all of this, came to relieve me, so I could then go to work. She came home days later, under hospice care, and we all knew the end was near. Weeks, maybe months, but it wouldn’t be long. And it wasn’t. For weeks we watched her every day, slip deeper and deeper into a coma-like state, sleeping more than she was awake, confused more than she was not. It was gut-wrenching. On March 6th, she passed away, at about 7:45pm.

My grandfather, one of the strongest people I have ever known, was a broken man without his wife. He dealt with the situation with all the dignity he has always possessed. But he was a different man afterwards. He had been fighting his own health issues for years, many times keeping it secret from the rest of us. I would check on him every night after work, sometimes spending an hour or more chatting, sometimes just a quick hello when I could sense he didn’t really want company, something he would never verbalize but something he didn’t have to. He became withdrawn and didn’t want to go to family functions, and we didn’t pressure him. His health started failing, and he was becoming more and more confused as time went on.

Good times with good friends...
Good times with good friends…

While this was happening and we watched my grandfather’s health slowly decline, I got more bad news. My first paranormal partner, the man with whom I started my first paranormal investigating group, had succumbed to years of depression. He and I had a tumultuous relationship. At one point we were the best of friends, partners, brothers. Over the years, our differences grew, and the first group splintered off into our current team, and he reformed the first group. Feelings were hurt, things were said, and we stopped speaking. Eventually after some time apart and some life-changing events in both of our lives that showed us the pettiness of our quarrels, we reconnected. It never became what it once was, as he had to move down to Florida, and our interactions dwindled. I knew he was depressed. Many times he wouldn’t accept my calls, only to call me at very late (or early) hours, leaving me cryptic voice messages. When I called back, no answer. I didn’t know his address, and didn’t know how to help him. It was a tough loss of someone I was once very close to, and I harbored a lot of guilt over the pettiness that drove us apart, and not being there for him in the end. But it’s fairly safe to say that without him, I wouldn’t be blogging this. I would never have met my fiancée, or our other dear friend, Jimmy Bricks. So for all that, I will always be grateful to him.

My grandparents
My grandparents

In mid-July we were on my annual family camping trip to Bantam Lake in Connecticut, a place that has its own weird history of paranormal happenings that I’ve blogged about in the past. Towards the end of the trip, we received a call from my mother, informing us that doctors said my grandfather may have only weeks to live. I refused to believe it. He was alert, active, not like he used to be, but he didn’t seem like he was close to dying. But over the next few weeks, things changed. We had hospice care put in place for him. He was falling a lot. Finally one Saturday he fell and we put him into his bed. And he never got up again. He passed away in the early morning hours of July 30th. I remember waking up at about 5:00am to get up to use the bathroom, and seeing lights on downstairs, and hearing talking. I knew what had happened.

At this point, Laura and I already knew that we would have to be moving soon. We had appointments to see some houses the day my grandfather died. We kept the appointments, because we knew he would have wanted us to go. It was a terrible day, the end of an era. My grandmother was gone, my grandfather was gone, and now I had to leave my home, a home that I grew up in from birth, lived in for most of my 41 years on this planet, and had most of my fondest memories in. Our lives had been turned upside down. Mortgage stuff, looking for houses, putting in offers, being outbid, or having our offer accepted and us having to walk away, it was a grueling process. No time for blogging, really. And honestly, with everything that we’d all been through, the last thing I wanted to think about was the paranormal. Though I do have some interesting stories about weird things that happened during this time. But that’s for another post.

Since my grandfather died, we also lost my uncle (my grandfather’s brother) who lived across the street from us, and my aunt (my grandfather’s sister), who I also grew up in the same building with until I was 8, and who for much of her life, lived around the corner from me. Laura and I finally found a house, a house that was much bigger than anything we ever thought we could afford, but which came with a whole plethora of its own problems. It’s only been in the last few weeks that my life has started to feel normal again, and that feeling of normalcy has brought me back to blogging. Speaking of which, Part 2 will look back on some of the stories that make this blog what it is, and what I found funny or interesting enough to write about, despite all that was going on in my life.

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