As we come to the end of 2020 we want to look back on some of the Silver Linings to this time, let’s focus on the positive and gain some perspective. Here we have Michael, Chelse and Hiedi sharing their thoughts.
There is so much to be thankful for in 2020 but it can be difficult to see. We have all been bombarded with the difficulties that have arisen in 2020 so much so I have seen a great review of 2020: , “one star, would not recommend” still makes me chuckle a little. It is so important that we all continue to find reasons to laugh and to smile. So much has changed but a smile and laughter always makes us feel just a little bit better, dare I say slightly hopeful. Anyway I just wanted to share my most silver lining that 2020 has brought to me. Ok there were many because once you start looking you can often find more than one, but today here is the big one.
My 88 year old Aunt who had never been in a hospital at all ever, ended up having emergency surgery mid March of 2020. Can you remember back then? Well needless to say the day after her surgery they closed the hospital to visitors, She was alone, intubated with a feeding tube because of how severe her condition was, so she was living her worst nightmare, alone in the hospital. The family always told her she would never be left alone in a hospital, never. Never did we think we would not be allowed in, who knew.
She was in the hospital alone, no phone, no video chat, just faxes we sent everyday and the hope that the nurses would give them to her and tell her we loved and missed her. On occasion we were able to talk to her but she could not speak because of the tubes etc. Anyway we are talking about the silver linings, the good things that occurred. Oh and after the hospital late April, she was medically transferred 4 hours to our home for in-home care and rehabilitation.
Ok, first I am so thankful that one of the best GI doctors in her area was on call the day we went to the hospital we did. He explained everything and was always willing to give me an update. He saved my aunt’s life, he wasn’t sure she would make it through the surgery and definitely concerned she would not breathe on her own again. She went through all of that and never had Covid! Another Silver lining.
My Aunt celebrated her 89th birthday with us and she was able to sit up and blow out her candle! With the smiles and skills of the medical professionals working with her she was able to regain her ability to walk, and care for herself, but throughout this time she kept her sense of humor and we had the opportunity to get to know her even better and to introduce her to some new technology and exercise equipment and so much more. It was a blessing to have all this time with my Aunt.
Time is precious and sometimes you just need to take it moment by moment and then I hope upon reflection you will smile and remember all the smiles which eventually out number the tougher moments.
As we all know 2020 has been a strange year. My mom started the year by breaking her hip and ended up in the hospital in Florida in February. Quickly and unexpectedly she took a turn for the worse and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Being in New Hampshire I knew I needed to get down to Florida to see her as we were not sure if she would recover.
On March 11 I had my ticket and was about to board the plane and I received the call from my brother that Mom had passed away that morning. That was quite a stunning call, so I phoned Heidi who had not even gotten home from dropping me off and she turned around to pick me up as we knew Mom would be waked and buried on Long Island, NY. Just a reminder this was the beginning of all the Covid restrictions around the country and we now had a lot of new things to face.
That was a lot I know but let me refocus on the Silver Linings to all of this. First I am thankful she passed March 11 and not a day or week later as we were able to have her flown to NY after she was covid tested and everyone knew the plan. We were able to have a mass, awake with just family, and restricted to 10 but that was enough. She was able to be buried with her husband as she had planned. My brother, nephew and wife were able to fly up from Florida and we were able to be together, share stories, and walk on the beach. I even got the opportunity to kick the soccer ball around with my nephew who we hardly see because of the distance. We were the last Funeral Mass, the last wake and one of the last burials, as all was shut down the next day until the state figured more out about Covid. My brother and family were just able to get home to Florida right before the airlines started to shut down flights.
Now we started the daunting task of getting our childhood home ready for sale. My brother and his family flew back to NY in July to help get things ready for sale. We actually had some beautiful moments of sharing childhood stories as we found items we had long forgotten. As we spent time together we mourned our mom and dad but celebrated the life we all lived in this house with these things and the love and joy we felt. Bonus we had someone write a note to a neighbor saying they were interested in buying the house so it never even hit the market, we went forward with that person and sold our childhood home simply and easily. Of course we did not finish emptying the house in one trip which leads me to my last Silver Lining for this blog.
Heidi and I are truly blessed to have friends that are like family, who will help us when we ask and even when we do not ask, they are all amazing and we could not have gotten through this time without them. I am going to share just one experience in September, my birthday month which I will treasure forever.
Heidi and I had the daunting task of finding new homes for my parents furniture and other household items so we found some homes in New Hampshire and rented a 26 foot truck to bring most of it back from NY. Our good friends offered to come to NY with us and help us unload the house, load the truck and help us once in NH. Wow how wonderful to have our friends do that and better yet we found a way to celebrate my birthday. Heidi’s childhood friend came as well as our close friends from New Hampshire and after a warm busy day, we set up my parent’s outdoor table on the front lawn, ordered Italian food (my favorite), our friends brought some excellent wine and we celebrated! We celebrated friendship, hard work, my family and me. What a wonderful memory made during such a trying time.
Since March there have been stories all over the news about women who are having babies during the pandemic and how their partners and family are unable to come to appointments, births or even visit at home. We were lucky enough to welcome Piper to the world a little early, in mid February, before all of the craziness happened. As covid entered our lives, we did inevitably feel the impact. Piper was sick with a cold and pneumonia at 12 days old and spent 2 of the first 4 weeks of her life at Tufts Children’s Hospital. She finally came home and healthy on March 12 just days before national lockdowns and travel bans. I look back and thank my lucky stars everyday that even though we had to endure such a scary time, we were able to be together with her in the hospital day and night.
Settled in at home things did get tricky, and the months to follow were full of sadness that we couldn’t share our baby girl with our friends and family. There were silver linings though. Her dad Drew was able to work from home full-time. Many hours that he was supposed to spend away from us, in his office, he was able to spend at home with his new daughter and me, not to mention our dog Oliver. Oliver has also been ecstatic with the amount of time his mommy and daddy have been home. He’s been able to play and interact with Piper, who absolutely adores him. Our walks together were highlights of our time spent this summer around the neighborhood, in the woods, wherever and whenever we could.
We imagined the first 9 months of Piper’s life being spent out and about, visiting family, going to her Uncle Nate and Auntie Amber’s wedding in Salt Lake, and all sorts of other adventures. Our adventures needed to change but moments of joy followed as we grew and adapted as a family. Although Piper and I weren’t able to go to the wedding, we celebrated from afar. Piper got to dress up in a fancy pink dress with a bow and posed with a “Happy Wedding Day” sign so we felt like we were part of the celebrations! The time Drew was at the wedding Piper and I were able to spend extra time with my parents enjoying summer and some much needed play time.
Piper’s first year is definitely filled with unique memories and it has been extra special that Drew was able to be present for some of Piper’s firsts that he would have missed if he had been at work, and we were able to spend so much time as our new little family.