Blimey. 2020. What a year. Are we sure its only been one year? It feels like its been a lot longer than one year. I’m writing another blog, my second blog, that’s a strange enough event for one year — how do you capture what's happened this year. I wasn’t going to write it, it feels self indulgent (and it is), so if you’re kind enough to keep reading, you relinquish your right to tell me off for that!
2020 started with boxes. Mid 2019, we were told by a 5 year old that we should move 200 miles to Devon, and always one to do as I’m told, we put our house on the market (at 2am, after possibly one too many wines — who knew you could put your biggest asset up for sale when you definitely wouldn’t be safe to drive a car) We found a house that made our hearts squeal, bought it and planned to change our lives. 2020 was going to be a peaceful, calm year taking in our new surroundings :)
I accept that that’s probably a big decision to take on the say so of a small boy eating a scone and traditionally I live my life without overthinking things (ok, I wildly overthink the small stuff) but the truth was this was more than a snap judgement which gets us a nice view. In August 2018, my family experienced our worst time when we lost my Dad. It was quick, traumatic, rollercoastery, emotional, devastating and changed me forever (probably all of us) He went from healthy to not here in 11 weeks, we had more instances of ‘you need to prepare to say goodbyes’ followed by ‘he is rallying’ than we could cope with until the absolutely amazing medical team had no options left to them and they let him go with dignity, care and respect. Typing this now and re - living those last 4 weeks in intensive care brings on indescribable emotions. Dad told my sister that his job was to give his children roots and wings — roots to know where ‘home’ would always be and wings to have the confidence to fly. He succeeded. My brother, sister and I are all successful, happy people who know home but aren’t afraid to go into the world (though my brothers world is the Australian shores so he took those wings literally!!) When Dad passed, he left a hole of a best friend, cheerleader, partner in crime, drinking buddy (even though he no longer drank), joker, challenger, protector and absolute biggest supporter. I experienced all the grief stages you expect, I had lots of brilliant advice given to me, I ignored most of it and I broke. I lost my confidence in myself, my unwavering (and frankly annoying) tendency to say what I think and be able to respond confidently disappeared and I cried. A lot. I’m the luckiest — I have the best support network in my family (blood and non blood), the best husband, the best work and non work mates and the best opportunities. I’m also pretty tough. But I still broke. Breaking isn’t just for those we may see as ‘less resilient’ (I hate the word resilient) I tried to stay well….I exercised with someone who doubled as my therapist, I didn’t self medicate, I ate okay-ish. I also threw myself into work, thought I should be ‘fine’ and really didn’t help myself. Eventually, at the start of 2020, I told my brother and sister and I asked the doctor for help (it took me two attempts, it was scary and brave). Of course, when said scone eating small child gave us our orders, I knew I was having a hard time and this was the catalyst of our decision to move 200 miles. Jon (the amazing husband) and I wanted to live by the sea, we were going to do it tomorrow/in 10 years/when we retire. When someone dies 11 weeks after they become ill, you realise there may not be a future. So we listened to that very wise 5 year old and we made the move, not only to live the life we wanted but to try and piece me back together a bit. We moved on the 31st Jan 2020, we left behind some brilliant memories and even better people which was heart breaking but they stuck to their threats, I mean word, and stayed by our side. We got settled here, lost the cats a few times, unpacked the boxes, planned our brilliant new life and 6 weeks later, a global pandemic happened.
We haven’t been able to make the most of the move as yet. Our coastal town is beautiful but tiny and the usual things like mini festivals on the green (we live in a place that has a green!!!) haven’t been possible this year. However, its been the most incredible experience. Within days of lockdown, the community was doing what community does best. It was really heartening to see people coming together, looking out for folks, thanking the NHS and keyworkers and keeping people going. 2020 is a really difficult year to look back on, how do you summarise it. Beyond watching Jon do an enormous amount of DIY and dialling into far more Zoom/Teams calls than should even be possible in one year, its been about seeing the good in the world, trying to remember who I am and reflecting on, well, everything. I can’t easily recall what I’ve done this year……I know we’ve spent some time sea kayaking, we’ve had A LOT of barbeques, we’ve walked, I’ve read, I’ve done a lot of cheaty paintings and got through more box sets than is healthy. I’ve felt happy, sad, overwhelmed, not good enough, indestructible, proud and loved. The thing I come back to is feeling lucky. Ben Folds sings a song called ‘The Luckiest’, I sang it at our Dads wake and I have it engraved in a ring I wear which holds some of his ashes. Despite the stuff that’s gone on, all the things I have and all the things I hold dear, I am The Luckiest.