• Countries Visited: 4
  • Travel Wishlist: Canada, Japan, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Greece, France, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Poland, screw it basically the whole of Europe, Ireland, Egypt, Brazil and Mexico
  • Locked down in: Sydney, Australia

“I hate that I don’t have the energy or capacity to repay all the kindness that’s been given to me this year. I hate that this year has been terrible to everyone. I just hate this year.”

I’ll start this off by saying I’ve lost all concept of time, so I’m not sure of the exact month when my mum received a call from the doctors that she needed to go into hospital. I remember waking up to her packing her bags and laughing about how overprotective they were of her because she felt completely fine. None of us could have predicted that it would turn into a four month stay in hospital that ultimately led to her death.

During her stay my 10 year old rabbit died and despite being in hospital for a month already she still had the strength and empathy to console me. I was able to repay that empathy when COVID restrictions came into place and she called me in tears that I wouldn’t be able to visit her anymore. I tried to make light of the situation, joking that she was overreacting and being a drama queen for being so upset because a week or two of not having to deal with me should be a holiday for her. I genuinely didn’t think it would be two-three months before seeing her in person again. Something I’ve learnt about myself, and you’ll probably pick up on while reading this, is that I’m very good at denial and downplaying things.

Towards the end of her stay in hospital she was discharged and allowed to come home. Our hopes were raised exponentially. The plan at the beginning of the year was for her to retire and move to New Zealand to start a new and happier life living with her sister. My mum was determined to get better. She was walking up and down the halls to build up her strength. It seemed like we were back on track for that plan. Until we received another call from the doctors after about a week that she needed to return to hospital immediately.

She had spent so much time in there already. Even though she wasn’t showing it she was extremely depressed. She would keep repeating “This is no way to live” and of course she didn’t want to go back in. In the end I’m not sure if it was her body that gave up on her, or her that gave up on her body, but less than a week later my brother received a call from her only saying, “It’s time.”

We rushed to the hospital and I was in absolute shock at how severely she had declined. She couldn’t talk, she couldn’t move, she could barely blink. She was practically catatonic. The Doctor told us this was just “a small hump” on her road to recovery but they would need to take her into surgery immediately and it would be a long road. That’s when she summoned the last amount of strength to pipe up and express in the best way she could that she didn’t want that. Less than 10 minutes later she died while we played her favorite songs and held her hand and told her how much she was loved. She was a mother from the start of her life until the end. She raised her siblings, she raised my brother and I, and she worked as a learning support officer at a primary school helping children with learning difficulties.

I don’t blame the doctors for being mistaken, but I do resent them for dangling that thread of hope in front of us right up until the very end.

Life is unfair. I knew that beforehand, but I think this is the first time that I actually understand that statement. Because if life was fair, such a good person never would have gone through so much suffering and pain. Such a good person would have finally been able to enjoy her retirement after being bullied at her job for the last few years. Such a good person would have been able to go to Hawaii like she always wanted to. Such a good person would have been able to finally be happy after being depressed for so long. Such good people deserve so much better.

My mum passing has been the worst thing to happen to me this year, but it hasn’t been the only thing. A few months later my mum’s 15 year old budgie who I inherited passed away as well. I worked myself to the point of exhaustion and collapsed at work and ended up in hospital myself. A day before Father’s Day my brother revealed that our dad used to be on dangerous anti-depressants that made him abusive to the point our mum once had to hide all the knives in the house. I was manipulated by my ex-best mate to move into a toxic household where him and his emotionally and mentally abusive girlfriend extorted me out of thousands of dollars by misleading me into thinking they were struggling financially. Instead they were saving up for a new car loan. I spent a thousand dollars on an Airbnb just two suburbs away so I could escape from my own home for a week. During that week I was held up at knife point and assaulted. I’m now paying for a two bedroom apartment by myself that I can’t afford because my ex-best mate (who I was only moving out with because the same mentally and emotionally abusive girlfriend that he’s only been dating for 8 months kicked him out) decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to anymore. While walking a friend to their car I locked myself out at 2AM in the freezing cold and pouring rain and ended up in hospital once again. And most recently I was knocked over by a car pulling out of its driveway so my leg has been in immense pain for the past two weeks and it’s been difficult to walk and figure out all the adult responsibilities I thought I would have my mum to help me with.

Those are only the things I can remember right now, and there’s much more depth and story behind them. But it’s an ironic kind of blessing that so much awfulness has happened to me that I can’t even remember all of it. I don’t think the world is against me, and I take responsibility for my own actions and shortcomings that have contributed to some of the things that have happened. I’ve tried to keep a positive outlook on things with the two following statements:

1. All these things have given me interesting stories to tell. My life was quite boring before this year and at least now I’ll have a somewhat more interesting auto-biography if I ever choose to write one.

2. I’ve learnt a lot of lessons and a lot about myself through everything.

It’s not all bad. Even though I’ve been subjected to terrible people, I’ve been surrounded and come into contact with even more beautiful and kind people whose actions and thoughts easily outweigh those of the bad. But unfortunately it’s not enough.

Two nights ago I was called resilient and told how impressive it was by a few people that despite everything I’ve managed to maintain a positive attitude. But that positivity is saved and stored for when I have to put on a show for others. When I’m alone it becomes nothing but sorrow and misery. My well of positivity has run dry, and I’m worried the facade I’ve been putting on for others is beginning to weaken as well.

I’ve received gifts, hugs, well wishes, thoughts and prayers. I’ve impulsively bought and done things to try and perk myself up and make myself feel better but none of it has worked. I went into the pet shop wanting something small like a mouse that wouldn’t take make responsibility, instead I almost walked out with a puppy. The impulsive compromise was a baby rabbit I’ve called Maisie who I cuddle with every day and night. But though I’m a huge animal person, even she isn’t enough. For the first time ever I feel like life has exhausted me. Not physically, but just generally. There isn’t a single day I don’t feel like I’m on the brink of crying. I feel like I’m slipping into a very dark and horrible place and I’m running out of ideas of how to pull myself out of it.

With every day the world itself continues to get worse. I’ve tried to embrace the phrase “ignorance is bliss” and stop watching the news or thinking about anything and just burying my head under a pillow, but unfortunately I’m not the kind of person that will allow that.

So now I’m just here, trying to think of ways to make myself happy so I can go back to making others happy again. So I can go back to listening to other people’s problems and helping them instead of being in the reverse role. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been on the receiving end of help and it makes me uncomfortable.

I hate that I’ve forgotten my friend’s birthdays. I hate that I haven’t been able to give them the attention and support they deserve. I hate that I don’t have the energy or capacity to repay all the kindness that’s been given to me this year. I hate that this year has been terrible to everyone.

I just hate this year.