I keep hearing people call 2020 the worst year of our lives.
It has taken me a while to figure out why that statement bothers me so much.
Yes, I know many people suffered during 2020. It was a year of fear and loss and struggle, magnified so many times because so many people were affected. And I don't mean to downplay that at all.
But 2020 was not the worst year of my life.
2019 was the year I lost my mom. It was the year I watched her fade from her warm, smiling self to a barely-moving figure in a hospital bed, tubes connecting her to machines that whirred and beeped. It was the year I sat by her hospice bed in the living room of my childhood home, holding her hand while she slept in a drug-induced haze. It was the year I spent nights pacing my bedroom, crying to Heavenly Father to please give me more time with her. It was the year I saw my solid, steady, unbreakable dad break down with grief.
For my family, 2019 was the beginning of a long, lonely road of realizing what life without Mom meant.
My heart goes out to the people who suffered in 2020, especially those who lost loved ones. But 2020 was not the only year that brought heartache and suffering to the world. It's just the year that so much of the world shared the same heartache and the same suffering. Heartache and suffering have existed since the Fall of Adam, and will continue until our Savior comes again. Just because the whole world isn't suffering, doesn't mean that someone, somewhere, isn't.
I'm not sure what point I'm trying to make with this post. Maybe just trying to let my voice be heard because for some reason I feel like if I didn't suffer in 2020 for some Covid 19-related reason, my suffering was unimportant. Because my mom died in 2019, of cancer, instead of in 2020 of Covid 19, my suffering doesn't receive presidential condolences or a monument built in its honor. But that doesn't make my suffering any less real.
All I wanted, when I first lost my mom, was for people to talk to me about her. Loss is such an uncomfortable subject for so many people--including me, before 2019--that we often try to avoid it. But that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to remember my mom, to live in the memories I love so much about her. I even wanted to talk about what happened to her, those last days with her. It hurt when well-meaning friends skirted around the subject altogether, as if my loss was something that could just be brushed under the rug and forgotten beneath more cheerful subjects.
I just hope, as humans, we take a moment to see the daily suffering around us, and reach out a hand of gentleness and compassion. We never know what hurt might be hiding behind a smiling face we pass in the street. I hope it doesn't take a worldwide pandemic for us to realize that suffering is everywhere, and the littlest kindness can ease that hurt tremendously.
The joyful part of this post is that even in our deepest suffering, our Savior can bring us incomprehensible peace. When it seems that our grief is never-ending, He can bring comfort that I don't have words to describe. That is my hope for every suffering soul, in this year and every other.
The Brown-Eyed Girl