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  • Writer's pictureEllen Bookman

2020: OY!

This is the third or fourth time that I have started to write a blog post until I saw this comment on my FaceBook page: "YOU are an inspiration to so many people. Look at all you have accomplished. Pick up the pen and keep writing -- your fans await your next installment!!"

Adina Basemen Sharfstein, my dear friend wrote this. Adina, thank you for inspiring me to pick up the pen again and for being my biggest fan. I am forever grateful to have you in my life!

Ok, so here goes: 2020 absolutely sucked!

1. I spent the year worrying about my mother, who lives in a world far away from the rest of us. I am always wondering what she is thinking. Does she know me somewhere deep inside herself? Does she know that we love her? Does she know that our lives are forever changed without our "Miss Maaasha"?

2. Never in a million years did I expect the phone call I got from my sister, Judy. "Dad has Covid." While standing outside of the emergency room crying hysterically as my dad got wheeled into the hospital for the 6th time in a year, Judy called me. She couldn’t go in with him. She was beside herself.

I literally threw clothes in a bag, made a flight reservation and jumped on a plane in a two-hour period. I literally couldn't breathe. When I got there, I couldn't see my dad. He was in the hospital alone. It was hard to reach him, and he was very, very sick.

3. I spent the year worrying about Erin and Lee getting COVID. Erin did get it, but she had no symptoms. I still worried.

4. I spent part of the year feeling the deepest sense of sadness after making the worst decision I have ever had to make : the decision to walk away from Lucille, the horse I leased, loved, and lost.

And, yet, despite all of this, I did learn a few things, which is the only way to reconcile the crazy year and move on.

In 2020, I learned:

1. My mother is in stage four Alzheimers, and while she is a shell of her once effervescent self, she will always remain the glue that held our family together. I love you Mom!

2. My father is my hero! He survived COVID-19. He survived a lifetime of the “Unger Sisters!” He continues to be the most interesting person I know. I love you Joe Joe!

3. My sisters are my best friends. Judy, thank you for all that you have done and will do for Mom and Dad. We could not do this without you. Marilyn, thank you for being you cause you are a rockstar!

4. I will never stop worrying about you. Erin, yet I know that you are a trooper, smart, resourceful, and beautiful on the inside and out. I love you Ein Bookenman!

5. Dreams can come true. I had a horse to love, groom, feed, and ride. I put everything I had into Lucille. I thought this would last until I couldn’t ride any

more. It didn’t. It couldn’t. I lost Lucille.

I lost a friend. I lost myself in someone else’s opinion of me – words that ripped me to the core. It took months for me to realize that I am not the person they said I am. I will never forget you, Lucille. You changed my life forever…even if just for a brief moment in time.

In the next few days, Lee and I celebrate our 30-year wedding anniversary. Who would have ever thought this would happen? Well, it did. Through thick and thin, Lee has been here for me, especially after experiencing a life-changing Parksinon's diagnosis. Lee, I love you more than words. Thank you for everything!

"I've got a feeling twenty-one is going to be a good year... (the Who)



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