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  • Writer's pictureEmily Johnson


Last year I debated whether I had the energy to sit down and write a New Year’s Eve post. Exhausted and bruised I recall sitting in my house that barely felt like a home.

This year, On New Year's Day 2021, I can say that while things are still hard and rages still happen; we have reached some stability. The biggest gift has been some healing for Miles that has allowed us to be a family of four again.

We no longer count the days until the next school meeting. We trust and know that when Miles is well enough he will be able to return to the classroom. I no longer worry as much about my business surviving the pandemic as it's already withstood the test of the past two years. I don't worry about my parents as much either since I moved them to a house across the street and coordinated more help for them.

Yes; parts of this year were definitely less heavy. But other parts seemed to have carried the same overbearing weight as 2020.

2020 pushed us to our darkest hours and drew a heavy hood of grief over humanity; while many of us were able to find some light in this darkness; 2021 took us further down side streets of disappointment and further loss .

The healing that we experienced in our home this year was surface level healing. As the months ticked by deeper layers of trauma and disease were exposed. It was jarring at times and downright unsettling. But this was necessary in order to allow for repressed issues to surface.

So what did I learn this year? (It's mind blowing to think about how we are entering into our 3rd year of this, but I know there are so many other parents out there who have been battling this much longer).

  1. I learned that attempting to mend a damaged relationship more than twice is really just a relationship that needs to end

  2. I learned that past trauma can hide deeper than I've realized

  3. I learned to stand in the power that I don't owe anyone anything - this includes an explanation for changing my mind.

  4. I learned that walking away from things I was once "all in on" is not a sign of failure or flightiness; it is a sign of strength, courage and growth.

  5. I learned that at age 41 my work and passion is building community.

I am grateful for the opportunities that 2021 presented to me and my family. While being a PANDAS mom has been the most painful experience of my life I would not choose to change it. I’ve met and been supported by some of the most amazing people during this challenging year - from random members in my community to service providers that have had an intimate look into our lives. If you are reading this and you are one of those people - thank you.

There’s tremendous power in pain and while I'm human and let that energy sidetrack me at times - each time I gain more awareness and insight about who I am and where I’m going.

Pain can be our compass; our Spirit our true north; and our physical body our guide.

2021 ... thank you.

2022 ... I look forward to what's in store!

May we continue learning all we can about ourselves and those around us.

May we move forward with less fear and more awareness.

I think we can - don’t you?

With you always,


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