A Goodbye Letter to 2020

Dearest 2020,

I knew you were trouble from the start.

While I am grateful for myriad things – extra one-on-one time with my father, a slower pace at home, my own health and the health of my husband and sons – I am mostly still very mad at you. I will work through it eventually, and you won’t be around to see it. Today is your last day.

Many people started the year with a hefty amount of optimism, but I didn’t. It was in the tank by December, so my biggest task, or so I thought, was to muscle through a deeply personal trauma and hopefully have my father around for another calendar year.

Not only did I lose Dad in September and Grandpa Thomas in November, but you made life even more problematic with a pandemic. Talk about curveballs! Every day brought another dose of uncertainty. You want to mess with a perfectionist with control issues? GIVE HER DAILY DOSES OF UNCERTAINTY.

I won’t deny the positives that were born out of that time. Chuck was home more often than not. (All those porch days were a gift, I admit.) We had a few good boat days and early morning fishing trips. We celebrated birthdays and saw our friends. The weather this year has been one of the highlights – we’ve had all four seasons! I’m grateful for that.

But I have to tell you, 2020 – I’d give it all back to you if it meant I could have Dad back. I’d make the trade. I know that’s not how it works, but that’s how I feel.

Two nights ago you gave us your last full moon. It was gorgeous. Big and bright, like a flood light in the sky.

Today, however, I woke up to a rainy drizzle, and I don’t think we’ll see the sun all day. It feels like one more stab. I don’t know if I can stay up late enough to see you go. You robbed me this year. You robbed a lot of people. The sooner I go to sleep, the sooner you’ll be gone.

I know 2021 won’t be everything I want it to be, at least not at first. We are still in the woods, still wandering around looking for the path to lead us out of this COVID mess. I hear you, though, telling me to learn the lessons from this year and let the hardships make me better, but I’m telling you NOT YET. I need a little more time. One day, when I’m not so bitter, I will likely view you as a transformative year, not a destructive one. I’ll declare that 2020 was the year I learned [insert lesson here] and it will fuel my personal and spiritual growth. I’ll be sure to report back and give you proper credit.

For now, I’m done with you. I’m worn out. You won. You broke something in me, and since I haven’t found the exact location of the crack, I can’t patch it yet. I’m the kind of tired a nap won’t fix.

Do me a favor and tell your successor to take it easy on my family and me. My friends, too, for good measure. Tell 2021 to come in slowly, tenderly, like a new mother checking on her sleeping baby. Take a peek, then close the door gently. LEAVE US BE.

And if 2021 is going to be worse, then forget everything I said. Those porch days with my husband were really wonderful. I’ll always cherish the long drives with Dad after radiation. I’m glad Mom finally got her hip replaced. I’m grateful my kids are healthy and happy. I still have my pets, my best friends, and a lovely home from which to view sunsets.

Interestingly, the last time I photographed the moon was December 12, 2019, the day I put Mom on a plane to California to be with Dad in the hospital. Little did we know then, and little may we know now.

The hermits emerge

This has been the quietest, calmest holiday season we’ve had in a while, and though it’s allowed plenty of time for LEGO building, football watching, and reading, being in the house for days on end feels a bit hermit-like. We haven’t even gone to the movies, which I was sure we’d do by now.

Oh well!

Just to prove we’re alive and thriving, I coerced the family into taking a photo.

Family photo January 2015 low res