This year will go down in the history books as the worst many of us have endured. The most destructive pandemic in our history coincided with the most incompetent and self-serving president the U.S. has ever had. The result was utter devastation—our economy in tatters and 324,000 dead as I write.

Most of us know somebody struck down by the pandemic. One associate of mine has been diagnosed as infected; another has died. The rest of us survive by avoiding others.

I have been isolated and alone since last March. I’ve learned to do without human company. For me, it’s a matter of life and death. As an older man with a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer, my chances of surviving covid-19 are slim. So I’ve spent the better part of a year away from other human beings who might infect me.

The year has been painful for me for another reason: I lost my partner of twenty-plus years when she died of a stomach ailment at the end of March. The grieving continues. How long will it last?

So I’m glad to see the year end. In 2021, we’ll have a new president far more competent than the one leaving office. Vaccines will likely slow the spread of covid-19. For the first time in more than a year, people will be able to gather again.

I look forward to a new and better life in a new and better year.

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