I am still wrapping my head around the new year…2020 felt so long, but then again it went by so fast somehow. Since mid-March when COVID-19 became an everyday reality for us in the U.S., I have been reflecting on how this year has changed so much of our lives, but how differently it impacted me because I have already survived immeasurable loss and change.
The sudden, traumatic loss of Boris shifted my entire being. My day-to-day life was completely different; I no longer sent him silly text messages, called him to be sure he didn’t accidentally fall asleep and needed to be up for class, or touched his perfect hands. I no longer bickered with him over dinner plans or calling his mom back. My identity changed. After 10 years with Boris as my partner, I was now single…what does that even mean? My entire adult life I was with him. I’d never dated anyone else. My future plans were demolished…what was I going to do with his absence? Everything happened so fast. Our last interaction: he asked, “aren’t you going to kiss me?” and I unenthusiastically gave him a quick kiss and watched him walk to his car. Hours later he was dead. Just like that. My entire world turned upside down. Nothing was the same. My life is forever in two parts–before and after the night of April 7, 2018.
So when shit hit the fan in 2020, I did not feel a shock. I did not panic. It was more of a shrug. I’ve done this before. I have changed my routine. I was anxious, sure. I have been anxious about my dad’s health the entire time. And, of course, I have felt intense anger this year. I have learned that my values and beliefs about the world are very different from many people that I respect and love–relationships have been tested and I have been hurt. The emotional toll of this year certainly impacted me. But, I was already in the middle of a metamorphosis of my entire being. 2020 almost felt like an extension of the change that 2018 forced upon me.
2020 is definitely going to be a year that everyone remembers, and mostly for its terribleness. I keep thinking of all of the people who became widowed this year, to COVID-19 or something else. I wonder if people realize how much losing your person changes one’s entire being. A decade from now for people who lost their partner, 2020 will not be just memories of a bad year or jokes about toilet paper or Donald Trump. It is so much more pivotal than that–it was the year that wrecked their entire being and changed their whole life.
Sometimes I wonder if non-widowed people really understand what this type of loss does to a person. And, do they realize that a global pandemic ain’t got shit on the pain and change that losing a partner brings about? I have learned that widows/ers are some of the toughest, bravest, and open-hearted people on this planet. We have been forced to accept a new reality and adapt the best we can–2020’s craziness tested us and stretched us, but we can handle anything. I hate that we all have experienced such earth-shattering loss and change, but here we are. 2020 was just another bump in our road. We got this.
For those of you who became widowed in 2020, I am sending extra love and light. Please know that your grief deserves attention and nurture from yourself and the world. And, I am so very sorry.