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Goodbye 2020

I think most people will remember 2020 for the pandemic that swept the world, the anxiety that it brought to us and the destruction that it left in its wake. So many people now have holes in their lives from losing people they loved. We know the economic toll, jobs and businesses lost, whole ways of life gone. CoVid-19 has left no one untouched by some sort of loss. We all grieve for the collective and also for ourselves.

What we don't know yet, and what keeps getting asked, is what will be the mental health toll of this pandemic? My mother died in September, partly from the loneliness caused by isolation in a nursing home that was meant to protect her. Being alone for so many months was more than she could bear. Her family, my brothers and I, watched her deteriorate at a fairly rapid pace after she was confined to her room. Her physical health was protected but her mental health was left unguarded.

All of us will take something into 2021 and beyond that comes from the virus, whether we contracted it or not. I heard an expert say that it is too soon to look for meaning from the pandemic because we are still in the trauma. Now is the time to concentrate on the present; there will be time to look at the past soon enough.

I understand that in the midst of trauma, it is hard to try to dissect it, look for lessons learned, try to find the good in it. I don't know what works for you but being present seems important right now, to me. Maybe we are all doing less planning for the future and instead, trying to live right now as fully present as possible.

I know there will be a mental health price to pay for all of us. Some are already paying that price. What I will ask of myself, once vaccinations are available to all and perhaps herd immunity is reached, is that I give others a break. I want to be kinder and more tolerant. I want to share more. I want to judge people's conduct less, remembering what we all have gone through, together, while we are still in the midst of it.

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