2020 A Year of Endings

“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.”

– L. Frank Baum,The Marvelous Land of Oz

It was a year of endings. We knew that going in.

The Eldest Son would finish his Masters of Software Engineering.
The Middle Son would finish his Bachelor of Arts degree.
The Youngest Son would finish his final year of school.
The Husband would finish his employment at a company for whom he had worked for 32 years.

Me? Mostly I was rolling along as before. But there were endings for me too. Changes. A new way of being.

“At such times the universe gets a little closer to us. They are strange times, times of beginnings and endings. Dangerous and powerful. And we feel it even if we don’t know what it is. These times are not necessarily good, and not necessarily bad. In fact, what they are depends on what *we* are.”

– Terry Pratchett

Of course, like all of us, we weren’t expecting the added extremity of a global pandemic.

Finishing in midyear, would the Eldest Son be able to find work?
What would living on a university campus that was mostly shut down be like for the Middle Son?
How would an unmotivated Youngest Son cope with remote learning?
Would the Husband be able to find another job?

And how would I manage my mothering role of carrying the mental and emotional load for us all?

“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending.”

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

So what happened in the end? We survived.

The Eldest Son had a successful ending and a new beginning. He found a job within weeks of finishing his course. It was initiated by one of those ‘right person at the right time’ scenarios but given the company hadn’t intended to employ someone for another year but after interviewing our son, put him on right away, he totally got this on his own merits.

The Middle Son managed a not-quite-ending. He moved home temporarily in the first lockdown and when restrictions eased made a brief return but when the second more severe lockdown came into force, we moved him out permanently. After he contemplated pulling out of his course midyear, not being a fan of remote learning and struggling to achieve at the level to which he was accustomed, he pushed through and succeeded in all but one subject. He’ll catch that up this year.

The Youngest Son seemed destined for a rocky ending to match an unprecedented final year of school. He was lucky to be able to experience graduation, even if his family had to watch it on the tv at home, like it was the Oscars or something. Practice exams did not bode well for final results but somehow he pulled it off, passing all his subjects and gaining an entry score that would gain him admittance to his first choice of university study.

A graduation photo to show the children and grandchildren.

After remaining unemployed all year and just as I was beginning to wonder if I would need to find a temporary job as a barista over the non-teaching summer holidays, the Husband landed a job that ticked a lot of boxes. Managing a small staff for a not-for-profit organisation, four days a week and with flexible hours, it will hopefully make us all a little happier. It’s only funded to June but we’ll trust in the continuation.

My ending is happy. I find myself, weirdly, in a better place than I was a year ago. And I’m excited to discover what new beginnings await in this coming year.

“Celebrate endings – for they precede new beginnings.”

– Jonathan Lockwood Huie


What endings and beginnings did you experience in 2020?

39 thoughts on “2020 A Year of Endings

  1. I too have found my place in the chaos. I made a job I was reluctant to take my own and have now embraced it whole heartedly. I count my blessings, which absolutely includes you and yours, and find myself rich in the ways that no balance sheet can adequately reflect… Salut to another year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s what I liked about Sir Pterry’s quote. In the good and the bad, how it goes on depends on who you are and what you do with it. Congratulations on taking on your path and making it your own. Onward and upward! 🙂

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  2. I’m so glad your ending has been a happy one. It sounds like it’s perhaps the beginning of a wonderful new chapter for you. And how great that your sons got through the year as well as they did. It’s been an extraordinary year and I’m sure we’ll look back in years to come and truly wonder at how we survived this crazy time. Thanks for sharing your memories. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You done good, kid, in a perfectly vile year.
    The trio done done, too.
    The husband done good in the role-swap (I know all about this, as Chic stopped working to build us a house on an island).
    All of you Dempseys need to have your hands shaken firmly, be clapped on the back and have words of praise scattered around you.
    I have spoken,
    [grin]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Heather, I’m so glad to know that the year ended well for the Dempsey clan. Your husband and sons showed resilience when it was needed most. What a strange year it has been! Indeed, I am not a wife and mother, but still had days when I looked like the crazy lady or needed a large glass of adult refreshment.

    My 2020 ending was retirement from work in September and finding my way through the last three months during a pandemic and the worst political season ever. I’m happy the latter is mostly over with and that to add to the promise of a new year, we will also have a new President. Life is good, and I feel pretty blessed right now. Sleeping in every day, writing, reading, exercising and being crafty feels a lot better than the latter stages of employment.

    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Life is sounding good for you (pandemic notwithstanding) and I’m so glad. You truly deserve some easy living. Happy New Year!

      I think a positive to what the Youngest Son has been through is that I think he will handle university study better than he might have now that he’s had to take some control of his own learning already.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. We watched our oldest grandson graduate, also televised. So many challenges for our children this year. I, too, have seen many endings this year, but also some very uplifting beginnings. Wishing you and your family all the best in what I hope will be a kinder and healthier new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a different experience, isn’t it? I usually present an award on behalf of my father but had to forgo that this year which was a bit sad in the last year of having a child at the school.
      I’m so glad to hear there were uplifting beginnings for you and hope you managed through the endings. The very best to you and yours for the new year, Maggie.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was strange to watch from such a distant place. We have been there for every occasion in his life for 18 years and now we only see him in video or behind a mask. I am hopeful we will see some changes for the better this year. I send good wishes for a happy and healthy New Year of positive change to you and yours.

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  6. You done well H. The youngsters have definitely had a tough / rough year. My grandson finished without doing the A level exams he’d worked towards, can’t find a job, can’t take his driving test (they keep cancelling) and is now applying to university. His sister didn’t do the GCSE exams she’d worked towards, but fortunately got on the college course she wanted and is now alternating between a week in college and a week home study, the younger one is struggling at school, getting into trouble all the time, can’t focus on home learning and is generally going through a hard time, not helped by her father leaving home mid lockdown, which has resulted in her parents splitting up. So many challenges this year. On a positive note I gained another grandson in August, sadly we have not been able to see him yet. I am hoping this vaccine will put us on a more positive road out of this mess, but it won’t be for another few months for us.

    Wishing you and the family all the best for the new year, sounds as though you are on track for a successful one.
    Jude xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so sorry your grandchildren have had a such a rough time. We are just so fortunate that things were managed very well here and they tried as hard as possible to minimise the disruption to the kids’ education. And our son’s school was amazing. Big challenges for all involved. Congratulations on the new grandson! So hard not to get those baby cuddles and missing the newborn weeks. Went through same thing with new great-nephew. Really hoping things improve for you. It looks tough right now but hopefully the vaccine rollout will go quickly and smoothly. Wishing you a much better year in 2021 with lots of baby cuddles. ❤

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  7. In a time when the world seems upside down and so much has ground to a halt I must say your family has done very well! Finding jobs, graduating, learning online all big accomplishments. I have no doubt that your steady guiding heart played a big role. Sending heartfelt wishes for a better 2021. XO

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  8. I’m so glad to read this Heather and know that your whanau has some happy endings to report. Hooray for strong, resiliant families.

    I hope 2021 brings good health, new opportunities and happiness to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. How lovely to read about positive results and achievements and congratulations to all your men folk. They’ve all done very well in difficult times. Hopefully you will pick up some teaching work early next year. Our happiest beginning was the birth of our precious grandson in November. He has brought joy to us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Some roads have been rockier than others during 2020, and it sounds like you’ve had a heavy load. Congratulations to all 5 of you for landing in the new year in a good place. None of this was easy, I’m sure.

    We are all so needing of hope and optimism in this new year. I’m hoping your new year is smoother and not quite so angst ridden as its predecessor!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think my main hope for this year is that the Youngest Son will enjoy his university course so much I that I won’t have to nag him to study! 😉 For the moment, I’m enjoying a nag-free summer for the first time in so many years…

      Difficulties and extra challenges certainly piled up last year and at times it was tough going but I’m proud of all my men for getting through and I see only light ahead.

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  11. Well done, Heather. Much has changed for all of us, and although change can be unsettling, whining about it gets us nowhere. You and your family have adapted and found a way through the difficulties this year presented. Congratulations to your sons. Meeting those challenges will impart a sense of resilience for the years ahead. Happy 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is often commented that this year’s Year 12 cohort will be one of the most resilient going forward. It would be interesting to compare how quickly they adapt to university study compared to previous first years.
      I tried always to find the silver linings to things through the year and to be grateful for the many blessings we were fortunate to be given. As you say, just whining about it gets us nowhere. Happy New Year to you, Amanda!

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  12. Here’s to that happy ending of yours. As I read your post, I found myself holding my breath – worried about the outcomes for all those in your family – most of all, you, the emotional support committee. Best to you in 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Maggie. Sometimes I think back to that first major lockdown in March when the schools and universities first closed. The Husband was out of work, I was out of work, how would the youngest cope, would the other two get their qualifications….? It was a scary time. It make me hold my breath all over again just thinking about it. But luckily we survived so much better than any of us could have hoped at the beginning and we can breathe again. So very grateful.

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  13. Glad your family managed to come through this difficult year relatively unscathed. Cool that your eldest got a job after school and, of course, that your husband found something new – I’ve been working for the same “company” for 32 years and would not want to find anything else right now! Hope you have a wonderful 2021!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m glad that your conclusion about 2020 brought you to a better place of understanding and confidence. Not everything in 2020 sucked, and I am reminding myself daily that I need to focus on what good came from it. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

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