Okay fine, so 2020 sucks
But remember: 2019 was worse
The COVID-19 virus is devastating but, in my personal experience, what makes this virus that much worse is when you, and everyone you’re quarantined with, is grieving the loss of a year that we thought would make everything better.
So far, it hasn’t.
I lost the entirety of my 2019 once my younger sister, Rachel, suddenly passed away. From that point in February onward, my entire year fell apart. I took a pause on going to school, I took a pause on writing for the Carillon [EIC’s note: that’s why good employers provide paid leave, take note capitalist assholes], various people in life (i.e., my friends and my boyfriend) left my life because they didn’t know what they could do for me, and my family, expectedly, was in shambles.
My mental health was in the toilet. I had flipped from counsellor to counsellor, eventually finding the trauma therapist that was going to help me. She did, and she continues to, but the information I learned about my mental state from her was another jolt in the heart of 2019.
Thanks to all of this (and then some) 2020 was a beacon of hope for my family. Looking forward to the new year was an opportunity to grow and change; it was a new beginning, a chance to take the pain that 2019 had given us and actually turn it into something.
And 2020, at first, started off as good. Then everything was placed on pause, cancelled, postponed, or shut down.
That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t have been. I recognize the severity of this situation, and I’m glad and proud that our province reacted as quickly as it did. Despite all that, it doesn’t make my grief over losing my beacon of hope any less devastating. But, I think the key here is to look for hope amidst the tragedies that COVID-19 has inflicted on our society. I think it’s important that we do what we can.
The day this article comes out, it will be my 22nd birthday. I will be digitally attending class and work, then having a hearty class of wine in my living room while listening to Taylor Swift as my celebration for making it this far. But, even in the midst of the lamest-birthday-party ever, I think it’s important to give.
I encourage everyone in the same position as me – grieving over a hopeful year they didn’t get to have – to turn that pain into something important. Donate to your local food banks, start an online charity campaign, hell, do a live stream and donate the proceeds to an organization of your choice.
Now, more than ever, we need to come together to support one another. We live in an age where isolated doesn’t need to mean lonely; we can still be connected while hiding out in our homes. That’s my new beacon of hope for 2020: supporting one another in the midst of uncertainty.