No matter where you live in the world, 2020 had been truly one of the most unusual years in history. On this Election Day of such magnitude, I thought it would be a good exercise to go back over the year and show gratitude for the good that has happened this year among all the strife. It has been proven that showing gratitude everyday makes you a happier person and gratitude can even make you healthier. So here is my list of not only what 2020 has taken from me, but what it has given to me also.
2020 started out as a horrible year even before the words “Corona Virus” were part of our vocabulary. We found out in early January that our beloved goldendoodle Archie had terminal lung cancer. We had to say goodbye to him on January 12th. Archie was my spirit animal and I will miss his gentle loving ways the rest of my life. At the same time that we found out that Archie was ill, we also found out that Kevin was very ill. Kevin was diagnosed with afib in early December and in January we found out it wasn’t just ordinary afib, it was afib where his heart was pumping at only 14% from his left ventricle. This diagnosis, at the same time as losing Archie, almost did us in. God put a wonderful electro cardiologist in our lives that was upbeat and positive that Kevin would be okay with time. God also put the organization Paws into Grace in our lives. Archie passed away peacefully at our home surrounded by love. Even in the darkest storm, I am grateful for the care given by these professionals.
February came around and something wonderful happened. We met a little scamp of a dog that needed rescued. We hadn’t planned on getting a rescue; we had already put money down on a puppy we would get in April. But this little dog stole our hearts and became our beloved Irene. No dog could ever replace Archie, but Irene has more personality than any dog I have ever known. She is loving and naughty and playful and a down right terror. She saved us as much as we rescued her. (She is keeping an eye on the street as I write this to protect me from any invaders!) So while we lost our Archie, we gained Irene. Not our plan, but I am so grateful to have her in our family.
Molly arrived for her two week Spring Break in March, just as the shutdowns for the virus began. We were supposed to have a girl’s trip to Palm Springs, but the hotels and restaurants were closing along with just about everything else. Molly’s two –week trip turned into seven. I am so grateful she was here to go with me foraging for everything from hamburger to toilet paper, since Kevin had to avoid going out while his heart was getting stronger with the medicine he was on. So we lost our trip and our ability to move around freely, but we gained five weeks with our precious daughter. For that I am grateful.
Molly went home the beginning of May and we had to learn how to live with Covid just the two of us. We had been playing games via Zoom with two couples we had become friends with and these friendships began to deepen. When the restrictions started lifting, we spent our summer social distancing at the beach and hanging out on Thursday nights with our new good friends. We are so grateful for these friendships so late in all our lives. To find people you enjoy being with and have so much in common with in your 50’s and 60’s is truly amazing. So, instead of a summer filled with visitors, we had a summer of beaching and a small group of good friends. For that, I am grateful.
I had finally gone to the doctor about the pain in my neck and shoulder. Turns out I have a “frozen” shoulder. I have always held my anxiety in my shoulders and it finally caught up with me. My doctor recommended physical therapy. My physical therapist has been a Godsend in my life. Not only is she wonderful at her job, she has become a friend. I am now seeing her, doing aqua therapy and seeing an Osteopath Orthopedic. I am so grateful for the care and treatments I am receiving to gain back the use of my shoulder without surgery.
August beckoned with Kevin finally undergoing his Ablation for afib. I had not been able to go to any of his pre-op appointments due to Covid, so I had no idea what the surgery was going to be like. They kept saying “procedure”, but this “procedure” took five hours and included the surgeon going through Kevin’s heart wall to treat both chambers of his heart. I spent those hours at home with Lola and Irene praying for a good outcome. I am very grateful for the phone call during surgery to let me know he was doing well and so very, very, grateful for the wonderful outcome of the surgery. While we loss many weeks to worry, we gained the blessing of a healthy heart for Kevin.
September came and we celebrated Kevin’s 62nd birthday with a quick trip to Arrowhead with the dogs. We spent the rest of September enjoying our beach, including trips to Coronado beach with our Doodle Group friends. We have a special bond with our Doodle friends. They took care of us when we lost Archie and they welcomed Irene with loving arms. They “talk” dog like we do and I am so grateful to have them in our lives.
October arrived and after a very long six months, we got to spend a wonderful week with Molly. We kept busy doing things that we couldn’t during the lockdown, including going to the beach three days. We are blessed to have such an amazing daughter who still likes to spend time with her parents!
So, it is Election Day and I have no idea if I am going to be grateful or terrified at the end of the day. This has been an election year like no other and I just hope and pray we make it through as a united country. Even though we have been through a lot this year as a family, so many families have it so much worse. There have been lives lost to Covid. There have been live lost to police brutality. Unemployment has skyrocketed and now there are new outbreaks of the virus across the country along with flu season. I am scared to be honest as I write this, because there is no map where we are going as a country. I have to concentrate on all I have to be grateful for and remember that God is in control. I pray that if you are reading this, you can go back through your year and find some good. Find some gratitude. Give some grace to your neighbor or friend that doesn’t have the same political views as you do. Most of all, remember that no matter what the outcome of the election, YOU have the power to affect change around you. Be grateful for what you have, not just sorry for what you have loss. Be the positive to someone’s negative. Let’s remember we are all on the same team-we are all humans and we ALL matter.