My mother started the year with three strokes (one main event, two minor events). I couldn’t fly overseas to help, I was on crutches and had a busted finger, nevermind my other chronic conditions.
I had surgery on my knee (successful) and a finger (after an ‘eff up and the surgery appears to be an ‘eff up too).
I started to walk again, without a cane or crutch, after nine months. I love it.
I rebooted our vegi garden. I knew there was no other way to keep fresh leafy greens in our household at our preferred levels if I only grocery shop once a week. The wins thus far have outweighed the losses. While I still supplement with grocery store veg, a good bulk of it comes from my home’s soil.
My daughter and I gained an unasked for foster horse, dumped due to South Africa’s level 5 lockdown (the strictest). At the time we were not sure my husband was even going to get paid that month, my income was in tatters. Plans were made, people stepped in to help (and still help). He’s old, he refuses to pick up weight despite being fed the most, his withers are scary high and he is cheeky as hell. But I love him and he takes care of me and my kid. I swear he saved my sanity this year. One of my favourite memories is riding him during “walking hour” in level four with my daughter. There she’d be, jumping him in the early morning mist, the town eerily silent. It was glorious.
My body felt better than it had in ten solid years.
A heaviness descended onto one of our family members. It’s like bailing out a leaky boat. Sometimes the water line is lower, but we never succeed in making it go away. This has haunted me. I’ve had nightmares. But so it goes.
Husband and I became grandparents to a cat. We never thought we wanted a cat. But we did it, because she needed a person and that person needed her. Now, we adore her. And like many grandparents, we let her get away with shit we would never let our fur-children (the dogs) ever do.
I learned to canter, after more than 2 years. Still needs work, but I did it.
I took Dune-the-foster-horse on an outride and he did not take off in the manner he was known for – he’s adapting, and I am grateful. (Yes, an gentleman in the work areas, speed demon in the bush.)
My daughter and I arrived at the stables to meet a foal only a few hours old.
A doctor suggested that if I fed my family leafy greens and chillies the heaviness in our family would subside. I cried.
Husband and I celebrated our 20th legal wedding anniversary. The weather was gorgeous, the food at lunch was crap, we saw many lovely animals, and then nearly home we had a motorcycle accident. Despite flying the furthest, I came out of it with no broken bones. Husband, however, had two fractures, one of which required minor surgery.
My daughter galloped Dune for the first time. She was stunning.
My sitting trot, which had vanished after Dune and I fell in December 2019, started to return.
Dune had a minor injury, so my daughter rode an amazing horse that, unfortunately, has no loyalty to my kid so when an arsehole flew past them in their ridiculously large van, the horse took off with no thought to his rider. At first, you would have thought she was riding him at a gallop on purpose, she handled it so well. But a whip turn, followed by a whip turn, followed by…eventually she came off. We spent some quality time in the hospital, she gained a plate. We learned that the medical world had also failed us again, and because of this, my daughter will probably always have a crooked spine.
My feet began to hurt while in the hospital. It didn’t matter if I was standing up or not, they ached as if they were bruised, they burned.
My children stunned us with their grades this year. They always do well, but the at-home-learning, the yo-yo learning, the jerk-you-around-learning, and the home-from-hospital-test-taking – who knew how they’d cope? But they did, even in Afrikaans.
The hurt feet didn’t stop hurting. They were the canary in the coal mine that my luck of good health had come to an end. Now everything hurts. I’m trying not to mind, but I do mind, very much.
I held a baby not even 24 hours old.
Yesterday we took down the tree, because today we have a birthday to celebrate. Always a positive way to begin the New Year.
I have never been so grateful to my friends. They have been invaluable this year.
I have never written so many “thinking of you” and “wishing you peace as you grieve” and trying to find new words and phrases for all the pain and heaviness that has rolled through our collective lives.
I have had kindness given to me by people whose names I do not know.
I have seen selfishness at a grand world scale that has left me breathless.
I loved having my family home, for school and work.
I pushed my body hard this year, and despite the current situation, for the most part, it met the challenges and for that, I thank it.
I have been very fortunate this year, despite the bumps. I have been given much love. 2020 has not been easy, and I suspect 2021 will also demand much. But my hope has not died. My wish is that you still have a burning ember of light inside your heart too. One foot after another, my friends. May we persist.