Personally, I'm not sure I remember a more exciting year for our family than 2012, with weddings, milestone birthdays and the long-awaited arrival of our second grandchild. It will be difficult this Dec. 31 to look back and feel anything but overwhelming gratitude.
The bigger picture, however, is comprised of indelible images, which, as always, are a combination of the beauty and ugliness in the world. From the horror of Sandy Hook this month to the gold-medal finishes of Olympians in London this past summer, there are events and celebrations that will be remembered for decades to come.
So before we march ahead to 2013 with all the hope and promise we wish for in life, here's a retrospective look at some of 2012's best photos. Note some people may find a portion of the content disturbing because of graphic content or nudity.
Reuters Best Photos of the Year
Huffington Post AP's Choices for Top Photos of 2012
boston.com Best Nature Pictures of 2012
TIME Picks the Most Surprising Photos of 2012