So much has happened in the six months since I last posted here. Quite honestly, I felt buffeted by the hurricane that has been 2020. I needed an emotional sabbatical to sort out and deal with all of my feelings, not to mention everything going on in my life. More on that in a minute. But also, I didn’t know if I had anything to say that was of interest to anyone. There is so much competing for our time, attention, and screen time. I didn’t feel I had anything of value to offer.
We’ve all been suffering this year from the pandemic, and the emotional, financial, and physical effects of the fallout. Many have lost loved ones to the virus or live with the stress and danger of being on the front lines providing medical care and other essential services. It’s sad and scary.
Then there’s the political division we’ve been experiencing in our country leading up to the recent election and still continuing, plus the racial and societal horrors and tensions. In California we had another bad year of wildfires. Although we were lucky not to lose our home or be evacuated, we did suffer from the smoke blanketing the area. A lot of bad things have happened and it’s a lot to bear—for all of us. Some have suffered more than others.
After being laid off for nine months, I finally was hired for a technical writer position in March. But because of the virus, my employer was unable to complete the background checks, so I couldn’t start until June 8th.
The day before I started my new job my dad, who was 87 and suffering a slow decline from Alzheimer’s Disease, ended up in the hospital with a fractured spine he suffered in a fall. I’m the only family member in the area other than my mom–who doesn’t drive–so it was challenging starting a new job the day after he was admitted. My parents had each been in the hospital twice in the past year. Once they were both in the hospital at the same time but on different floors, so this road was becoming familiar.
After a few days in the hospital my dad was transferred to skilled nursing. My mom and I were unable to visit him in the hospital or skilled nursing because of the virus. It’s incredibly challenging for those suffering from any form of dementia to be out of their usual environment, and that was definitely the case for my dad. Not being able to have visitors caused a cognitive decline. Although we called him on the phone and had some Zoom calls with him, his limited hearing and sight made it especially challenging. Although I dropped off a cake and present for him and we had a zoom call with my sister, he had to spend his 88th birthday alone.
After about a month the skilled nursing facility decided he was getting too depressed and had progressed enough with his physical therapy to go home. The day after he went home he went into hospice care and he died a couple of weeks later. Although I knew I would lose my dad to Alzheimer’s, I don’t think it would have happened as soon as it did if he hadn’t been isolated in skilled nursing for so long.
It was tough losing my dad, but even worse to have it happen just after starting a new job. I felt completely depleted, both emotionally and physically, just when I needed to be energetic and at the top of my game to learn a new job.
After getting engaged last year, Dan and I had been planning to get married in October, when family would be visiting from out-of-state, but the virus nixed that idea. We had already made reservations months earlier for a Grand Canyon and Pismo Beach honeymoon road trip, so we decided to elope while we were at the Grand Canyon. On October 20th we got married in a beautiful and romantic ceremony on the edge of the Grand Canyon. It was a really special place to get married, and I was able to make all of the arrangements just six weeks before we arrived.
Before heading to the canyon, we spent a few days in Lake Tahoe, so we had a nice mix of mountains, canyon, and ocean for our wedding trip. We did some day hikes in the canyon and enjoyed our time in Pismo Beach with an ocean-view room. It was pretty perfect, except for not being able to share our wedding ceremony with family and friends. We hope to be able to celebrate with family and friends next year, or whenever we can gather in groups again.
I still miss my dad and probably will for the rest of my life. But for us there was a silver lining to the disaster that has been 2020. We’re grateful we have each other, we have jobs, and none of our immediate family or friends have contracted the virus. I hope that everyone reading this is so lucky, and that you find a silver lining in your year.