As we get ready to say good-bye to 2020, I am sitting here and reflecting on this past year. The world as I knew it for 36 years changed with these words “it’s the Covid-19 pandemic”. Businesses were closed ((some permanently)), gatherings were frowned on ((no matter the cause)), friends and loved ones were lost ((either to Covid-19 or for other reasons)). Some of us found ourselves employed with a company where doors were shut but we remained hopeful that they would swing wide and we would be able to return to work. Others had to go find work elsewhere or collect unemployment and pray for the rest. Suddenly, going into a store without a mask on became pretty much illegal. Curfews were put in place. The life that we had known was now gone and we were faced with newer and scarier challenges. At the beginning of 2020 for me, I went back to Friendly’s Restaurant. I worked hard and was promoted to head server just before the shut-down. Dad’s eyesight was steadily declining but overall was in okay health and Mommy was just being Mommy holding us altogether, loving us, supporting us, and whooping us if we got out of line. Then, I found myself stuck at home with no idea of the coming weeks ahead. At first, I relished the time off and spending time with my boys and Will. Then it got to be “okay, this was fun, but I am bored and not contributing to the household income”. The days rolled on, each one like the day before.
Then, the call came that would start a total shakedown of my life, heart, and soul. Mommy had said Dad was not doing well and he kept falling. We decided Eli would go sleep at Gram’s, just in case, and sure enough, Dad fell for the fourth time in twenty-four hours. Off to the hospital he was taken where tests were run, and it was determined he had hit his head during one of these falls and it caused a minor brain bleed and mini strokes. We watched, we waited, we prayed, we cried, and we pressed close to God and our family. We signed the hospice paperwork and prepared to say goodbye. Then, another phone call and glory be, Dad was just fine, and he should make a full recovery. Of course, Mommy and I had our doubts, but I ran to the hospital…to find Dad just laying there in bed and I thought his doctor was nuts, insane, or both. Then physical therapy came and sat him in a chair, and he seemed like Dad himself ((and he ate lunch)). I was so happy; I ran from the hospital ((maybe about 3-4 miles)) dancing and singing while calling everyone I knew to praise and share the blessed news. The next day, Dad was sent off to rehab and we started to make plans for when he came home. Then another phone call ((I really hated my phone by this point)). It was the rehab center telling us that Dad had a fever and was not eating or drinking so back to the hospital we went, and it was decided to put hospice care back into play. My Dad came home to his house with my Mommy on a Saturday afternoon, and went home to be with Jesus on an early, bright, sunny, beautiful Sunday morning. We had just barely gotten through Dad’s funeral when we received word that two of our cousin’s had gone. Death was surely done with us as it had claimed three precious lives, right? Sadly, that was not the case.
My two eldest boys ironically had the same teacher in elementary school ((at different schools)). She taught Liam at Lincoln Street and Tobs at Grafton Street. More than that, she became a friend of mine and her stepdaughter became best friends with Tobs. We got the message mid-August that she had lost her fight with breast cancer. At this point, I was searching in vain for answers to questions I had no words to form. God knew my anguish ((He still does)). I was sure that death was done claiming the people I loved ((at least for this year)). This morning I woke to find that my beloved adopted mom “Ma” had joined the others and had gone onto Heaven. My heart is so full of sadness, grief, and love right now. She helped to raise me alongside my parents and her girls were pretty much my sisters growing up. I owe her for my life, and I cannot repay all that she has done for me.
The year has not been all sadness and gloom. I made some very dear online friends who have been my lifeline while stuck at home. We are a small, tightknit group from all over the country and they are beyond a blessing to me. I landed a job with a tax office ((all those years at Salter finally paid off)) and I start next week. Sometime after the death of my father, I started the Faith Like Mary Facebook page, blog, and store. I am compiling the blog posts into a book that I pray to have finished by this time next year. I have gotten to form memories with my boys and spend lots of time with them. Will and I spend as much time together as we can when he is not at work but is always reachable by text if I need him.
I have no idea what God is in store for me and my family in the coming year, but I know we are saying goodbye gratefully and hello thankfully. We will continue praying, laughing, singing, crying, and making memories with our boys. We will celebrate and we will mourn. Mostly, I pray to draw closer to God and I pray that you find your song even in the rain