As 2020 came to a close, Eleanor Herd reflected on the year, the global pandemic and more. (Eleanor Herd/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

As 2020 came to a close, Eleanor Herd reflected on the year, the global pandemic and more. (Eleanor Herd/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

LETTER: New Year’s fireworks lift spirit of Langley City senior

2020 was a year like no other. One local senior reflects on its impact.

Dear Editor,

So, the first day of my year end ‘retreat’ has ended. A day to journal and reflect on the year 2020: lessons learned, COVID -19, grief and yet gratitude found in the small things. Blessings counted in family and friends.

I went to bed at 7 p.m. even though it was New Year’s Eve, as I had an upset stomach. I had a good book I was looking forward to reading that I had downloaded on Kindle. But no, I couldn’t concentrate.

The leftover beef stew from yesterday lay heavy, and I just wanted the day to end.

I felt disappointment, as every other year, my retreat is usually a special time that I look forward to.

If I can’t afford a Bed and Breakfast (which I haven’t for years) then I enjoy a day at the beach. I start off at the local coffee shop, and settle in with my journal, reflecting on the year coming to a close. I go for a walk on the beach, rain or shine. Two years ago, at this time, I took some photos in the fog by the water. (One of them is now a screen shot on my cell.)

But this year’s retreat was modified due to COVID 19 restrictions and concerns. As a senior with health issues, I should be avoiding a long transit ride to the beach or sitting in an enclosed (but cozy) coffeeshop journaling for hours. So, this year, I stayed home with my coffee and journal instead.

I went for a walk after lunch in my neighbourhood. I love it because it has a small town feel to it. I did stop into a local gift shop, to see if they had any journals left so I could treat myself to a nice new one for 2021. The owner had a few to choose from. I found one that looked like it had a pastel water colour pattern that I was drawn to. Perfect! I wanted to finally give myself a year of creativity: writing, photography, maybe even dabble in some beginner’s watercolor creations.

JOY! If I could let myself have some fun in 2021…. my heart sure needed it.

But instead, by 7 p.m., on New Year’s Eve I crawled under the covers and curled up with one of the pillows pressed to my chest, hoping I wasn’t going to be sick to my stomach. It had been one heck of a year that’s for sure but it was not how I wanted to end it. I just wanted to peacefully go off to sleep and wake up tomorrow with a fresh start. A new day. A new year. Hope renewed would be good.

I had turned off the ringer on my phone so that no “Yahoos” would wake me up with “Happy New Year!” I needed a good night’s sleep to manage my health and emotional well – being. I had not quite fallen asleep when I heard near by a “pop, pop, pop, fizz, pop”. The noise sounded like someone was setting off fire crackers right outside my window. So, I got up to take a look. I pulled open the curtains and looked out into the foggy night to see if there were any guilty culprits nearby.

As I was about to close the curtains again and go back to bed, it started again. “Pop, Wizz, pop, pop…pop”. But this time I could see behind the two apartment buildings across the street, in the park adjacent. Someone was setting off beautiful fireworks! Gold, red, blue… high into the sky, just like Canada Day! It felt like hundreds of fireworks, one after another, in celebration of the years end. 2020 was ending and the world wanted to celebrate at 8 pm instead of midnight so that the neighbourhood children could celebrate once again, as well.

And then, I started to cry! Sobbing gut wrenching silent sobs of relief, sadness, joy, grief all rolled up into one. Deep emotions that must have been wound tightly in my gut for 10 + months of a pandemic and still guarded in anticipation of the months to still come, before we are done.

Someone must have spent a lot of money on those fireworks for our neighbourhood. It went on for 15-20 minutes. God bless them! Thank you! I am not sure if it was even legal but in a pandemic we need joy, hope renewed and to celebrate good riddance to the 2020’s pandemic shenanigans.

When the fireworks stopped, so did my crying. My stomach ache was gone too. Very therapeutic.

Bless you for visually inspiring hope! Now I will sleep peacefully tonight. Now I can celebrate new beginnings in 2021.

Eleanor Herd, Langley City


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