2020 and All its Trials

Here’s the craziness that’s happened to me personally in 2020 so far:

– The pandemic happened
– Some of the paid ministry peeps I loved got let go.
– Churching at home
– My beloved dog Sally died
– Overworked with childcare needs up multiple times a week
– A hurricane with my namesake affected people in the US
– Stuck at home being respectful for health and safety of myself and others

I am not okay but I am surviving. This year is the worst case scenario of I need to drop everything for me time. I’m grateful for my health and my household’s wellness, and I’m thankful for my job stability and that they allowed me to work from home for a time. But this year has been a hard one, damnit.

I haven’t even felt like blogging on it. I don’t want to feel like I’m complaining when everyone else in the world is going through unique trials too.

The children’s pastor and her assistant as well as our minister of music were all laid off at church due to drastic debt. I cried as I live streamed our prayer gathering and found out their losses and what it meant to our church family as well as their families. I mourned the fact that our WOMEN in leadership were the ones that lost their positions and pay. Two of those ladies are independent with no secondary income or spouses. One was months away from a comfortable retirement. I was close to them and they made church feel safer and more like home. And then our senior pastor chose to take a 50% budget cut and ultimately, fast track stepping down completely as senior pastor and handing the reigns over to our young co-pastor. It’s bittersweet that he is leaving but he is off to do mission work and train up indigenous pastors and I know God is calling him to greater work.

Sweet Sally…She started showing signs of discomfort and I took her to the vet and he totally overlooked any problems and sent me home with some pain medication for what he assumed was lower cerebral inflammation of the spine. She started eating less and looked depressed. I did my best to give her pets and try to inspire her to walk as I know she loved being outside. It finally reached a point where she was refusing most food and looked to be panting. I thought maybe due to her age it was the beginning signs of heart failure. My vet said she needed blood work to continue her pain medication and I somehow felt a second opinion was needed. I called my brother and asked him to go to the vet hospital with me. We figured we’d grab dinner and go to the appointment and wait and then go home with Sally and call it a day. Due to the pandemic and things barely opening up in July, the wait time was 3-4 hours. We were prepared for it to take a while. What we weren’t prepared for was the triage vet tech seeing signs of blood loss through pale gums and taking her back to a waiting room almost immediately. When my girl came back to us, imaging showed she had a tumor that grew so large it raptured her spleen (Hemangiosarcoma is common for senior dogs of her breed) She was in so much distress that they wouldn’t allow us to take her home. Body fluid and bleeding were filling her chest cavity and we had no idea the severity of her problems. We were given two options: a surgery that would remove her spleen and give her up to a year but if it was chemo we’d have to treat the cancer, or we could put her down. Sally was 13, her breed lives up to 15 years, and many people who went through with surgery reported longevity of 6 months, not even a year. I made one of the hardest on the spot decisions I’ve had to make with my brother. We knew given the details the most loving thing we could do was say goodbye that evening. Since my brother and I are different households and we had to be vigilant about infection and covid issues we cried into our masks, refrained from hugging and being too close to each other, and had to be careful about the surfaces we touched. Our vet was comforting and we got the time we needed to say goodbye in a room all to ourselves. I walked in with full confidence Sally was coming home with me and it hurt so bad to be suddenly without her. She was a good girl to the very end. I will never forget her. Somehow knowing I won’t be a dog owner again for the indefinite future made everything harder too. Sally could never be replaced, but there also isn’t room in this time to welcome another dog into the family. I miss the joy and love and loyalty of a canine companion.

My brother and his wife have worked hard to stay afloat after his accident and concussion especially with 2 children and one income. My SIL has worked so hard to make ends meet financially while my brother has taken on more than he can truly bear at childcare, domestic duties, and dealing with pain 24/7 and migraines. The opportunity arose for them to work on a business plan for my SIL and that included renovation of a property for her work. To save money my brother decided to work with the contractor. This turned into my family helping out too, with childcare, up to 10 hours a day because of lack of resources right now. Some weeks my Mom got the kids as early as 8-10am and then I helped out after work and they didn’t go home until after 8pm. Nearly 10-12 hours of childcare including making and feeding meals. My family is exhausted. People joked of netflix time and being bored and being able to work on themselves and here every waking moment was work, childcare, or trying to stay afloat.

My household, like a lot of current households, has people, including myself, who are high risk and might have complications if we got sick with coronavirus so we have been very careful. I also have to be careful for my family since my Dad and Aunt are in their late 70’s. My boyfriend and I keep to meeting in the backyard spaced apart with masks. I’ve met up with a few friends at the park, again, distanced and respectful. It’s hard to see the church and society lash back at doing the right thing. Somehow I’m crazy to adhere to guidelines and care enough about others and myself to do what is right. My parent’s church is literally pressuring them to go back to gathering inside, which is ridiculous. They downplay death rates and overlook infection rates and minimize people who have passed from it to their complications as if they wouldn’t likely be alive today even with complications.

Life is crazy and I have no answers. I can’t lie and say my faith and family make everything better, but they do help. I feel stuck in a rut. But I’ll get through this. We all will.

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