I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 is the year for the books for the most trying year in our generation. There have been worldwide concerns/pandemics/movements, on top of many personal trials for, pretty much, everyone. When the ball dropped, and we welcomed 2020 in the New Year with open arms, we just did not know what exactly the year had in store for us.
Let me tell you about my personal 2020 began…
I was excited for a new year. I was already a bit sad that I did not get to see my mother over Christmas because she had been sick with pneumonia. One thing I find crazy is that this year, as a teacher, I have been hearing about more pneumonia cases among the students than I ever had before. The kids were dropping like flies. It was crazy. Then my mom got it shortly after her knee surgery, about 1-2 months. I tried to go visit her, but she did not want use around and potentially get my boys sick, which I understood. However, she ended up in the ER for severe lung pain right before New Year’s Eve. I felt helpless.
After being monitored and drugged for a few days the doctors decided she needed her left lung drained. They ended up draining half a liter of fluid from ONE lung. Her boyfriend was keeping my updated throughout the whole procedure and hospital stay. They said she ended up coughing a good bit because her lung was expanding and finally able to take in some air. We thought, perhaps, she might be on her way out of the woods after that.
That was not the case…
After a couple more days of observations, the doctors noticed her lung was trying to fill with fluid again. They then decided they needed to do surgery to scrape out the bacteria from her lung. The doctors mentioned it was actually a fairly routine surgery and common among pneumonia patients. I had never heard of this before, but then again, I’ve never had pneumonia.
Her surgery was scheduled for January 6th. I was at work and just waiting for text updates and try to respond when I could. She texted me about 2 hours before her surgery. That was the las time I would hear from her.
I waited all day to hear something. It seemed it was taking way too long. Her boyfriend was letting me know he was also waiting to hear from the doctors after surgery. I was getting a little concerned.
That night we were doing our normal family stuff, dinner, watching some TV, and then I was falling asleep on the couch. Then I suddenly woke up to my phone vibrating. It was mom’s boyfriend. I answer, hoping to hear everything was good. He was distraught. He was frantic and telling they are trying to revive her. I jumped up so fast and told Jon what was happening. We were grateful to have neighbors who could take the kids while we rush to the hospital to figure out what was going on. By the time we got there she was already gone. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen my mom since Thanksgiving, and now she was gone. I had to call my sister, my mom’s brother, and had help contacting the rest of the family to let them know what happened. The doctors had put on her death certificate that she had died from pneumonia, empyema, and post operative cardiac arrest. She basically had a heart attack in recovery, even thought the surgery itself went great. Mom’s boyfriend informed us that they also removed a piece of dead lung that was about the size of a quarter.
That week was going to be so hard.
I was so grateful my husband helped so much with the phone calls and such to try to get some of the affairs in order. It was hard to function. I was stressed. My sister was trying to come down from Ohio with her family as fast as they could. We ended up scheduling a celebration of life service that Friday. It was going to take longer to get mom’s ashes back.
Her celebration of life service was beautiful. So many from her work showed up and shared stories of how she was always smiling and positive and lifted others up. Friends we haven’t seen in years showed up for support and to offer their condolences. It was beautiful to see the amount of people who came to remember my mom. Family came, and even my own employers, colleagues, and former employers showed up. It was a lovely service.
Unfortunately right after the service I ended up getting sick. I’d imagine my immune system was compromised from all the stress from losing my mom. I had the worst case of bacterial tonsillitis or strep I had seen in a long time. I had to miss another week of school because of it.
All of this happened right after I was planning to get my life more together, losing weight, growing my faith, etc. It’s a good reminder that satan will try anything to use whatever he can to bring you down when you’re doing things right and for God’s glory.
At the new year I had already made the decision to be the year I dig deeper in to Scripture and begin studying Hebrew so I could gain deeper Biblical knowledge and wisdom. January 30 was my birthday and the day I would begin the Hebrew class my aunt teaches out of her home. So I begin, and I become more vigilant in attending church in person, as well as going Wednesday nights. I was determined to develop new and better habits with the family. Micah, my oldest, had already given his life to Christ back in August. We were trying to find a weekend to get him baptized in the church, not realizing our church now requires a class before doing so. We were finally going to get that ball rolling…and then COVID hit. Middle of March, right at spring break, it was like the whole world stopped turning.
It all seemed so surreal that this was even happening. schools were closing, stores and restaurants closed….everything just stopped. My aunt had to pause her Hebrew classes. We had to go back to watching church online…a setback to our attempt to building better habits.
I, as with everyone else, was scrambling to find this new work-life balance between preparing and presenting lessons to my students and making sure my oldest does his school work. It was not easy. Many people lost their jobs because businesses were dying from the pandemic.
On the plus side we were getting many home projects done that we wouldn’t have as much time to do on a normal schedule. While this whole ordeal has been nothing to laugh at, or take lightly, it also gave me some time to reflect. It made me realize how much time I was NOT spending with my family and with God. I could no longer use busyness as an excuse. I have come to feel that God wants us to use this horrific time as a tool to get closer to Him and with our families.
There have been other national events taking place that have been “waking” people up. And along with that I ended up needing to resign my teaching position for reasons I will not disclose here.
Between all the crazy that Satan wants to use to set us back, I have been finding my positives. I have been working to surround myself with better people. People who are genuine. People who matter most. People who can help mentor me and help me grow spiritually. Because of this my anxiety (which I have been medicated for) has been reduced greatly. Reading Scripture more consistently has also had a big factor in it.
I’ve lost a lot this year, along with many others, however I have been able gain something much more significant. People are waking up, but my question is, are they falling to their knees in prayer? It’s still a work in progress for me, but I’m in a better place than I was even 6 months ago, when it all began. More time with family, more time with God, more time to reflect. Time can only be spent once. Once it passes it’s gone. How are you spending your time? Are you using this time as a tool for something positive? Or are you wasting it because you cannot seem to get away from a negative mindset? How you spend your time is up to you, but understand how crucial it is to make the best of it because you cannot get it back. Prayer is important. Scripture is life changing. Prayer changes things-changes the atmosphere. Scripture will speak to you if you prayerfully allow it. It is no doubt that most, if not all of us, will come out stronger because of the trials we had to endure in 2020. These are trying times. Let’s use it to help us grow and grow stronger.