Happy 2021–I Hope!

(I got this image from the internet, as did quite a few other people I know. It perfectly sums up the past year, in my humble opinion.)

Well, we made it through another year. At least, some of us did.

Times past, I have done a memorial column at the end of each year, as a little tribute to the local losses. I have always found it difficult, but this year as I swept through obituaries, I found it so daunting that I decided I just could not do it.

I should probably do it. 2020, more than ever, deserves the tributes.

Sigh. Okay, I will do it. It’s going to be late, but it will be done. You’ll have to see it on my other blog, though. That’s the spot where I’ve always done it.

For me, personally, the biggest loss was my father, Paul Eugene Shablo. He lived a long and mostly healthy life. He loved deeply and steadfastly, and was loved in return. He was kind, generous and funny. He was the best father anyone could ever ask for. I’ve heard that it gets easier over time to accept a loss, but in the case, I will have to disagree. Every single day, it is hard. I still expect to see him when I come up the stairs, sitting in the kitchen with a cup of coffee and fiddling with one gadget or other. I still expect to hear his voice. I still consider his preferences when I plan a meal. Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to bring myself to make spaghetti since his accident nearly eight months ago. I know how weird that sounds. Sometime soon, I will give it a try.

Mom has had it rough this past year, more so than most. She lost her husband of sixty-three years. That final anniversary happened after the funeral, but I insist that it counts. That was quite bad enough, but then she lost a brother, too. He was a sweet and quiet man. He had a odd sense of humor that always took me off guard.

Along the way, 2020 took several friends from us, as well. You can understand me dragging my feet on the memorial tribute, I think.

What can we say about 2020?

Lost people. Check.

Lost jobs. Check.

Lost homes. Check.

Flooded basement. Check.

Hurricane Blizzard of September 7th and 8th. Check.

Let’s talk a bit about that crazy storm. Hundreds of trees were lost in Green River and Jamestown, and also in Rock Springs to a somewhat lesser extent. Power was out all over the county for days. But it was an event that pulled the community together, in the midst of the…

Oh yeah! Pandemic. Check.

We could talk about the blasted pandemic for days, weeks, months, and never finish the conversation, because it is still not finished with us. It has its own checklist:

Denial. Check.

Poor management. Check.

Misinformation. Check.

Defiance. Check.

And so many deaths that we passed the quarter-million mark before the holidays. Check.

I personally know people who have lost their jobs and face homelessness in the near future. I know people who are choosing between rent or food.

In the meantime, while the dread COVID-19 virus has swept the nation, we have still been faced with the other things that can hinder or take our lives:

Cancer. Check.

Car accidents. Check.

Flash floods. Check. Twice! Two vehicles destroyed.

That’s my family and extended family. If I included friends and acquaintances, this list of horrors would be endless.

2020. What a year.

Has it been all bad? Of course not.

We added some beautiful babies to the family this year. Thank God for new babies!

I had several publishing opportunities this year. I was oddly productive in some of my writing venues, while being completely off-balance in others. A novel that was on track for completion in the spring is still sitting here waiting for my attention. Sales were mediocre at best. No book fairs or signings were possible with all that has been going on in the world. Yet, I was able to place several stories in various markets which will earn me nearly nothing in the form of money, but will earn me a chance to get my work seen and remarked upon. Getting your name out there in this market is priceless.

We found new ways to keep in touch. I am getting more familiar with things like Zoom and Portal. I have also re-discovered the joys of sending a receiving real letters.

I got my Christmas shopping done and sent on time for the first time in years.

I am blessed with the ability to live with and care for my mother. Not everyone can do that, and it is a joy I would not miss for anything.

I do have hope for the new year, but to be honest, I have hope for every day I wake up to. After 2020, one day at a time makes more sense than ever to me.

So, let’s get after it, one day at a time, and have a better 2021.

Happy New Year.

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