January 18th, 2021

2020 is the kidney stone of years

By Lethbridge Herald on December 26, 2020.


Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
Are you ready to call it a year? In less than a week, the calendar will show humanity has reached another milestone — the end of 2020.
Like a kidney stone, the passing of this year is painful, slow and can’t come soon enough. Anyone who has experienced a kidney stone knows how agonizing it is. I vaguely remember likening it in a column to passing a small moose with razor-sharp antlers. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
But like 2020, a kidney stone just hits out of the blue. You don’t realize how agonizing it’s going to be until you end up writhing in pain so bad you apologize for things you never even did or thought about doing.
A kidney stone makes a person pray to every god ever believed in by mankind for mercy and an end to the suffering.
But like 2020, kidney stones do things their own way and on their own speed. The agony seems to have no end.
Next Friday, a new year dawns and hopefully the pain will start to ease. Unless the daily COVID infection rate in Alberta has dropped significantly, in all likelihood we will still be social-distancing more than ever and having fewer human contacts in our personal and professional lives.
For people to be isolated during the festive season is tough, at least for those who have big families and are social. It has to be especially difficult for our friends and neighbours with relatives in the U.S. who can’t come home to socialize without quarantine.
One of my old classmates from Raymond High School, who now lives in Utah, hasn’t seen her elderly mom since before COVID hit.
Mrs. Smith, who was one of our beloved teachers, actually came to our 40-year class reunion in 2017 and we were all thrilled to see her after so many years. So for her and her daughter Barb Dalene not to spend the holiday season together is horrible. And I hope nobody told her the gag gift that Barb got that night, one of many I as co-host handed out, was not a piano-shaped broach, but a roach clip for smoking pot. Otherwise, I’m sure Mrs. Smith would have belatedly failed me.
Others are going through that same separation and sadness thanks to COVID which has kept families and friends apart during the season.
Like a kidney stone, it hurts profoundly and my heart goes out to everyone in this difficult situation.
But hopefully, the pain will soon ease and the memory of 2020 will disappear like the memory of begging that dastardly demonic stone to flush away.
Hopefully, in coming days we can come out of isolation and greet 2021 with confidence and hope and see our friends and families again. Hopefully, we will recover physically, emotionally and economically.
Right now, we need hope more than ever. We need to believe that seven days from now is a new beginning and a fresh start after an agonizing year that started out with such promise and is ending with so much misery.
Like a kidney stone, this too will pass. And we will emerge stronger, happier, healthier and wiser.
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