Where do we even begin? Well, let’s begin somewhere. If someone had to tell me that an entire Pandemic would have stopped the earth on its axis for an entire year, and maybe even more, I would have called them bluff! If someone had told me that my father would have been dead by the end of 2020 I would have never entertained it, I would have never believed. If someone had told me that people I thought I knew turned out to be strangers, I would have told them never! But, this is life, and this is our reality like it or not, and here we are yet again, at the end of another year, not even realizing that it has come and gone with so much tragedy and despair.. However, hoping for a better outcome.
So who would have thought that our entire year would be focused on a global pandemic! (COVID) the worst name uttered for 2020. At the turn of midnight on Jan 1st, 2020, I and probably just about every other human being had amazing plans for this astronomical new year. Turns out, COVID had its own agenda for us all. By late March COVID was upon us, and though some of us took it quite seriously, others thought it would have slid off the grid in a matter of weeks, ( I was one of those people). It didn’t take very long for the rest of the world to start shutting borders and hoarding toilet paper, it also didn’t take any of us too long to realize that we were going NOWHERE for 2020.
So here we were forced into a world of wearing masks, 6-hour curfews, excruciating supermarket lines in the blazing heat, barely any Lysol spray or wipes insight, washing our hands at least 20 times a day, working from home, (some of us with children forcing us to drive over devil’s bridge), extra weight gain, more amazon prime orders than we needed, higher grocery bills, I mean I could go on and on but y’all know the struggle…this year was a real shit show…between COVID, George Floyd, Riots, Trump and his rants, no damn vacations on the agenda, late pension, loss of jobs, we may as well have put a “CLOSED FOR BUSINESS” sign on earth.
I know I had a lot of great plans for 2020 likewise I’m sure a lot of you did, but they always say God has a way of unplanning. What I will say about 2020, is that it taught me how to appreciate time when I had it, and how to appreciate the necessities that we take for granted. When I was working I always complained about not having enough time to get things done, and when covid showed up, I had nothing but time! I had time to work out, time to spend with my dog, time to write (although I was too depressed to do that), time to get household chores done, time to pay bills, time to spend with my dad, suddenly I had all the time in the world. At this point, I thought to myself you can’t be ungrateful however, there’s never really pleasing us, humans.
By mid-summer just when we were getting comfortable with living in Covid’s world, my world was about to get much more complicated. July 14th, 2020, will forever be etched in my living memory as the day my world began to stop, not because of covid but because this was the beginning of my father’s transition to a downward spiral of health. I could cope with covid, but what I was about to face was way more terrifying than the virus, I was about to watch my father die for almost five months. Early-onset Parkinson’s Disease was something he battled for about four years, but he did it with dignity and he tried his very best to not let it hamper his normal activities until he did realize that there were certain things he could no longer do.
July through to October seems somewhat of a blur to me now, my life changed drastically and so did my sister’s we both went through days where we didn’t know what was next or what was coming, but what we did know is that we had to do everything in our power to make sure our father had everything he needed, which included our love. It’s amazing how adrenaline and instinct kick in for a loved one, for all the covid in the world which could have been in the hospital never even crossed our minds. I was never fearful of myself at all, the only person I cared about was my dad.
As months went by, so did our lives, We put our lives on pause to take care of him and see to it that he got the best care possible. Trips planned were pushed back at least four or five times, no time ever really seemed to be the right time. What I am grateful for is that if it wasn’t for covid, I would not have been able to spend as much time as I did with him, hard as it was watching him slip into less and less of the man we knew him to be, I am truly grateful for the amount of time I had to say everything that I had to say to him.
I don’t know what is worse, losing someone you love dearly suddenly, or watching them die over some time, I only know the latter. What I do know is that it is the most excruciating pain anyone can ever tolerate, and I am grateful that God has made me as strong I was, even when I felt completely broken to be able to withstand watching him suffer to the very end. Those who know, know how much I loved my dad, we had our good and bad days, he wasn’t perfect but shit none of us are, I’m not, but he was amazing…to me. He was my hero and my first love. and while I sat and wrote his Eulogy which I could not bare to read myself, I realized for the first time in my life just how amazing he was.
My first love is now gone, and none of you will ever understand what my pain is, we all suffer death differently. What I will say is this year has truly taught me how important it is to say things to people that need to be said, to spend the time that needs to be spent, to take risks even when you’re scared, to never think you know those closest to you because you never really do. This year has been a year of evolution in every way for me, and I’m sure it has been for others. COVID showed up to slow us down, to probably make us stand and smell the roses a little longer while we are alive because truthfully none of us know what our expiration date is in this life.
Going forward, and I’m not going to make not even 1 resolution, because I feel like I need to see previews of 2021 before I start running my mouth. What I will say is that we are not promised tomorrow and I intend to live as beautiful a life as God will permit me, and I suggest that everyone else do the same. Wishing everyone a Blessed New Year.
Dedicated to My Father: Everett F. Lake