A deep dive into the intimate confounds of family, grief, loss, and economic as well as legal challenges made it impossible to update winter’s status prior to the end of 2020. I was injured at the end of 2019 such that it was impossible to walk for days, and then impossible to comfortably walk for months thereafter. The logistics in which this injury came to be culminated into a year of chronic pain, chronic work challenges given my pain’s exacerbation when sitting, economic and legal challenges that spiraled out of both, until finally I said…enough.
I have alluded to but never openly and publicly mentioned the ongoing grief that 2020 brought as my grandfather entered the later stage of Parkinson’s, which he was diagnosed with ten years ago. I grew up with he and my grandmother, have a bond closer to them than many of my peers have ever been able to understand, and the pain of watching he and my grandmother suffer as this illness and his life come to an end has no words. Almost every day I feel this grief surface as a well of gratitude and love in my chest that bubbles up and makes its way down my chin as I sit quietly in tears. Every day I work harder and harder to stay grounded and focused on the next thing and the next thing, constantly working to rebuild the life that I love, and to build anew the life I’ve dreamed of, despite the challenges we all continue to face is this strange and unspeakable pandemic era.
I’m happy to reach the final phase of graduate school. Happy to be on good terms with the extended body of work I’ll be producing through that program. Happy to be employed with multiple research and educational institutions that I would stake all for in the longterm. Happy to be in love with my partner, beyond words. Happy to have taken another trip around the sun this month. Despite the setbacks, injustices, physical and emotional pain, I am happy. I’ve learned that it’s something we create, it’s not something that happens to us. It is there for you to find and cultivate through practice and persistence. And it’s the only way to survive.