Today the Polish government announced that it’s compulsory to wear a face mask anywhere outside, even in open air. And I can’t help but wonder if the measures will get even stricter and we’ll end up in another lockdown. Of course, these measures are there to protect us. But I can’t be the only one that is just feeling meh, can I? In an ideal world, a scientist would come up with a vaccine tomorrow and we’d be sorted, but obviously it’s not that straightforward. COVID-19 aside, I have not had a good year at all. A global pandemic is bad enough but when stuff happens on top of that … well, it’s hard to keep going. If you’ve had lots of bad stuff happen to you this year, my friend, I’m sorry. I dedicate this post to you.
A positive start
At the beginning of this year, I was bursting with positivity. I had just left a job that was draining me and I had managed to get another one very quickly. I was ready for a new chapter. I had so many travel plans (as I’m sure we all did), and so many ideas of how I was going to be living my 2020. Even the number sounds like a good number, right? 2013 sounds rubbish but actually I had a good time that year on my year abroad. 2020 sounds like an amazing year, yet … here we are.
I don’t want to give many details to protect my family’s privacy, but basically cancer hit us like a tonne of bricks two years in a row. In January 2019, a close family member got cancer. Then almost the same time in 2020, someone else very dear to me got the dreaded disease. So my whole family didn’t start off the year with the most positive of vibes. It just sucks. What are the odds of this happening twice?!
Before the pandemic took hold, my mind was occupied with thoughts about my beloved family members, praying that they would be okay. At the same time, I started a new job, which was very challenging and came with all the stressors you’d expect. And of course I had to pretend nothing was happening outside of work and just get on with it.
The pandemic hits
About six weeks after I started my new job, Poland went into lockdown and we were to work from home immediately. To be honest, I was one of those people that welcomed lockdown; I love working from home anyway, so this was a great excuse for me to isolate in my little flat and not see anyone but my boyfriend (we isolated together). For a while, life was okay – a bit stressful due to getting to know a new job, etc., but generally speaking I was okay.
In the height of summer, you wouldn’t have know there was a pandemic in Poland. We started going out to our favourite hangout place – the zoo – and going out for the odd meal. Of course, it was strange not being able to just go on holiday because the uncertainty of the coronavirus was still very much present. Still, my boyfriend and I had quite a nice summer, playing mini-golf outside, going swimming, and going hiking in the Polish mountains. Like most people, we made the most of what we could do.
Family stuff in autumn
The thing with being abroad is that I have only been hearing news about my loved ones’ health through WhatsApp and phone calls with my Mum. If I lived nearby in normal circumstances, I would’ve been visiting them all the time. But even in COVID times, that wouldn’t have been possible. I truly feel for anyone who is sick themselves or knows someone who is sick during quarantine. Knowing someone is ill and you can’t go see them is the worst.
On August 30th, one of my family members passed away from lung cancer and it was the hardest moments of my life. This person had always been there for me – from birth up until the moment they died. It was just so hard to comprehend. Up until that point, I had never experienced death. I’d seen it on TV, heard about it on the news, sympathised with friends about their experiences, but in my 27 years, I had never experienced the pain. It was and still is so hard, not only due to the fact that a person you loved so much is no longer there but also because you feel for other people who the passing will affect. It just sucks. The whole situation is horrible. I raised a glass of wine to them that night and cried a lot for the next few days.
Flying home for a funeral during a pandemic
A week later, I flew home to London to be with my sister who was alone at home while my Mum was helping out with the family. And of course I went home for the funeral too. Funeral. It’s funny; nobody really expects to ever have to say the word ‘funeral’, do they? We never think about death. So to suddenly be confronted with it is hard to take. I tried to not think about it and just focus on being there for my sister, but every night I went to bed, there it was at the back of my mind. You’re going to their funeral next week.
Being home was nice in someways. I got to hang out with my sister (and drive her crazy), I got to see my best friend and her baby, I got to have fish and chips and also got to sleep in Mum’s comfy bed while she was away. But I will never forget the day of the funeral. It’s a day I will never forget, and I just hope that my loved one, let’s call him David, is still with us somehow now.
Although nobody can ever be glad to have a funeral, I am glad that it happened during a time when we could have up to 30 guests. It meant that we could give David the send-off he deserved. I will forever be grateful for that.
After going home during the pandemic, saying goodbye to my loved one, going to my first funeral (I hope I never have to go to one again), and working remotely while at home in the UK, I just wanted to have a couple of months of c-a-l-m. Was that so much to ask? How much worse can it get?! It seems it could get worse, and it did …
I lost my job
When I came back from the UK, I had a couple of days of normality. Then I was told that my job would no longer exist from November. Great. Straight away, a number of questions cropped up in my mind. Will I get another job here? Will I have to move away from my boyfriend? Will I have to go home and start from scratch? Will I get another job in this economic climate?!
I don’t know the answer to these questions yet and it’s scary. I hate not knowing anything! But what I do know is that something positive has to come up. It has to, right? How can one person experience so many bad things in one year that was set to be so positive?
I’n writing my 2020 experience because I feel like there has to be many more people out there who have also had a rubbish year. Has anyone actually had a good year? When I think about it, I don’t know a single person that hasn’t had something go wrong for them. Is it COVID-19? Or is 2020 just cursed? Whatever it will be, I just want you to know that, if you’re having a tough year, if your life has been turned upside down, I feel your pain and I sincerely emphasise with you. Keep going. You are strong.
Right now, I don’t feel strong at all. Part of me wants to run away and hide. But the other part of me knows that I am a strong, badass woman, and I will come out of this horrible time stronger. And you will too!
Also, if you have lost anyone this year due to the coronavirus or otherwise, I’m so sorry for your loss. After going through it myself, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
Be strong everyone.
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