Like many of you, our family starts each year with the hope that the next year will be filled with prosperity and happiness.
Each New Year's Eve we figure out what we want to do, change or have happen for the upcoming year. It's a time for transformation as well as a time for reflection.
When I reflect back on 2012, I am reminded of the huge amount of change I've gone through -- from becoming a working mom to losing almost 60 pounds and making exercise part of my life.
But I am also reminded that 2012 was a year filled with a tremendous grief and hardship.
In February we said goodbye to my grandfather, Howard Possin.
He was not only a father, grandfather and a great-grandfather, but a WWII veteran who proudly served his country and a man who built most of the buildings in Fond Du Lac.
Another loss was in August when my family and I had to make the most agonizing decision ever -- saying goodbye to our old beloved dog, Bailey.
She was the calm, protective one of the family. She was the one that each of the girls rode -- in her prime she was over 110 pounds.
She was the one who cried and whined if I was upset, and also the one who chewed through a door frame because she didn't like being alone.
She was the pink-bellied, white fuzz-ball that my husband gave me for Christmas in 1999. She was the dog who went from being a terror as a puppy to a sweet, soft-hearted, flower-smelling dog.
And while it's been just over three months, I can say that my heart is still broken and our household still feels like something is missing.
Yet we've have made steps towards healing, and the other dogs have finally stopped sleeping next to 'Bailey's spot.' My three-year has stopped asking when Bailey will come home.
But it's a process that takes time for all of us to work through.
Looking toward 2013, I am hopeful that it will bring more happiness than 2012 did.
We are lucky enough to start the year with a much-needed vacation. We've promised the girls that, come spring, we will seriously consider getting a puppy. Hopefully by then the Bailey memories will appear with smiles and not tears.
Talking with people throughout the year, I realize we are not the only family that has suffered from death or loss.
One thing I realize is that we are not alone -- there are others out there struggling just as we are. But there are also people out there who want to lift that burden if even for a moment.
Your resolutions, please
This year the Journal is going to try something different.
We are asking readers to submit their hopes, dreams, and resolutions for 2013.
These can be funny, poignant, inspiring -- anything you want.
We will publish them between Christmas and New Year's.
This is your chance to have your voice heard. A chance for you to uplift someone who's having a hard time or to proclaim the changes you are going to make.
I can start it off -- my hope for 2013 is that my family can remember the good times with the family members we lost, and invite in new family members and love them to the fullest.
Last, I hope that the country gets back on track, that jobs become easier to find, that homes are not lost and that together we can find the strength to repair ourselves.
Please submit your first and last name, phone number (won't be published, used to verify content), town or city of residence, and a picture of yourself -- either a headshot or a photo pertaining to your resolution to Jill Dexheimer or stop in at the Journal office, 2815 Prairie Drive.
Finally, enjoy the holiday season and be thinking of how you can start a new beginning for the new year.