The sun is streaming brightly through the windows in my living room. I’m sitting on the couch with tears streaming down my face. I’m letting their salty heat move down my cheeks.

I’m not sad. I’m not crazy. I’m just finally letting go of everything from 2016 I suppressed. I’m a great suppressor. I’ve had to be this past year due to some emergent situations.

I’m also celebrating the joys of this past year – one last time. I need to make room for all the new ones to come this year.

This is something I do every year. We all have events in our lives where we have to be strong, clear-headed. Not for ourselves but the people around us whom we love.

Events like the bittersweet farewell after a visit with your children who live far away. Trips to the emergency room with someone you care for who’s had a heart attack in the middle of the night. A friend who has lost a parent or worse, a child.

Some of the happier events have been the fact I saw my children who live far away. The two-year mark of sobriety with my son. I cried at that moment too. The amazing recovery of my soon to be 90-year-old mother-in-law who lives with me. Friends who became parents for the first time. Other friends who became grandparents. So many good things came to pass in 2016.

I am not sure why, as a society, we view tears, crying, as a bad thing. I’ve always seen it as cleansing, healing.

You know how good you feel after you’ve cleaned out a cluttered area? That’s what this is for me. I’ve cleaned out all the good and the bad. Now I can move on, refreshed and ready to tackle whatever 2017 is going to hand me. 

I’m just being honest here. I’m really not crazy. I might be one of the saner people you know.

OK, so some of you who really know me might be giggling. But after you stop, I suspect you will agree. So here’s to 2017 – a new year, full of promise, hope and adventure.

April Pedersen is the mother of three children and grandmother of two. She lives in Lansing.