Gratefulness and 2020---Is it Possible?

Is it possible to be grateful as we look back on 2020?  I see posts and memes that constantly remind me that 2020 was the worst year ever.  Was it, or was it a year that forced us out of our comfort zone?
In Puerto Rico we started the year with earthquakes.  This literally shook us to our very core.  Fear was a predominant feeling and every time we felt something, the inevitable “did you feel that, was that another one” would pop up as part of a PTSD that was now part of our lives.  
While still dealing with aftershocks, going through earthquake drills, and preparing a backpack just in case we needed to escape our homes, Coronavirus showed up.  I still remember being hesitant to cancel a trip thinking that maybe it would all be better in a month.  It wasn’t.  Shortly after, we were faced with a lockdown and only essential services were available.  Hand washing, grocery cleaning, and using masks would be come part of our daily lives.  Everyone had to switch to learning to work remotely and our lives changed.

0018599001609430073.jpgAshley getting ready to cross the rainbow bridge.How could I be grateful for anything in 2020? It was the year of missed trips, absent hugs, ordering takeout, and watching movies at home.  It was a year of far too many losses. It was a year of being in front of a computer screen for way too many hours. It was a year of lonely birthday celebrations and being at home all the time.  As I look back on this year I am reminded that I lost my beloved Ashley to cancer. How could I possibly be grateful?Later on, Piccolina had to have emergency dental surgery to have two teeth extracted and needed to wear a cone for 10 days. What could I find to be grateful in that scenario? 


Well, it just so happens that I have found things to be grateful for.  Because I was working from home, I was able to be with Ashley until her last breath.  I was able to grieve quietly without having to explain to others that losing a pet is just like losing a family member.  I was able to give Piccolina all the attention she needed to recover from such a serious surgical procedure.  I had time to help her navigate the cone in her head and watch her milestones as she was able to eat again.                       

0226773001609430401.jpgPiccolina with her cone after surgery.

As I learned how to adjust and work from home, Lulú and Piccolina were right by my side ALL the time.  They were present while I was teaching, during faculty meetings, and even listened in on confidential sessions with patients. They reminded me when it was time to take a break from the computer and when it was time for a treat. They reminded me how important it is to be present, to breathe, to ask for help, and to be grateful.  They reminded me of the importance of self-care by not taking no for an answer and letting me know that sometimes things can be put on hold and I learned to be flexible.  I learned that I cannot control everything and I was reminded of the importance of self-compassion.  2020 may not have been the best year, but it was a year that led me to a lot of personal growth.  I will never be the same.  I will look at 2020 with a compassionate eye and I will remember that it was the best year for my pets because they had their mom home.  I am ready for 2021, but 2020 will hold a special place in my heart too.

0860086001609430771.jpgLulú and Piccolina in my home office.

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