By Co-publisher Kaitlyn Clark
I’ve always been the type of person that forgets it’s a new month when I go to write the date, and I end up having to cross out the old month and try again. It’s even worse when calendars open back up to January and I have to remember it’s a new year now, too. Somehow I don’t expect that to be a problem this year; I’m all too happy to have waved goodbye to 2020.
Of course, last year wasn’t all bad. Perhaps most important to remember in 2020 are the small victories. Things may not have gone the way we were planning last January, but there is always some success to celebrate.
The Press stepped out of its ‘comfort zone’ and launched its first ever Home Sweet Home Haldimand magazine. We couldn’t have been happier with that publication and we look forward to planning the 2021 edition soon.
As a community we witnessed uncountable acts of compassion, generosity, and ingenuity. Our local residents got creative to ensure food banks remained stocked and charities maintained support. It’s inspiring to see how people banded together, and it has certainly made me thankful for the technology that made it possible to “be together” while far away.
On a personal level, my husband and I marked our two-year anniversary since marrying and his one-year anniversary as a permanent resident of Canada. We had planned to bring our friends and families together for the first time in a celebration of our marriage (as we weren’t able to have them all present when we read our vows initially), but of course this didn’t happen. While we were disappointed we had to postpone, it only gives us something to look forward to once the borders reopen. The borders being closed also meant our travel plans for the year went out the window, but my home vacations were filled with fun: beating a near-impossible board game; finishing the very-detailed Lord of the Rings series; finding my way back to some creative writing; trying out new recipes at home; and discovering delicious meals from area restaurants, among other activities.
I also got to see our community’s kindness up close on Christmas day. I had made pulpo (octopus) for Christmas Eve as it’s a tradition in my husband’s family, and we had decided to drop off the leftovers to my parents to try. However, the snowplow had buried us in and in trying to get out quickly, we got ourselves stuck. A stranger pulled over to help, and then a neighbour I have never spoken to joined in to push the car out of its rut. The neighbour then plowed out the parking spot by the time we got back from Cayuga, so we wouldn’t get stuck again. A gigantic thank you to both men; it wasn’t something you had to do, but it was so appreciated and a wonderful Christmas gift.
That all being said, I’m thoroughly excited to see the vaccine being rolled out. While the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, we are ever inching closer to a conclusion. We have seen already in 2020 that together we can make a difference. Following the health guidelines can help bring this pandemic to a close faster and with fewer casualties, a goal well worth it in my opinion. Every life saved is one small victory, and I am thankful for modern medicine’s ability to battle this virus as it does.
As we trudge through this lockdown, I urge everyone to support their community in whatever ways they are able. Keep your purchases local through online shopping, curbside pickup, and delivery. Remember to check in on friends and family by phone, email, texting, instant messaging, video chats, snail mail, and porch drop offs; continued communication is key to lessening the mental health impacts of isolation. And, if you can, donate to your local food bank or a charity of your choice.
If you are struggling in any way, there are resources that can help. There is no shame in getting support. Reaching out for help is always one victory to celebrate.
Find community and social services, such as for mental health, homelessness, abuse, and more, at 211ontario.ca or by calling 211.