• Jill O. Patrick

All Wrapped Up

Leading into 2020 I was full of excitement and nervous anticipation. In the first two months alone, I was scheduled to see Miss Oprah Winfrey, host an Art With Kids event and visit New York. I was also bracing myself for the second anniversary of my Mother's death on January 3, 2018. I was learning to do what I had seen many others experience on the anniversaries of losing a special person in their lives. I was trying to wrap my mind and emotions around this date that seems almost as important as a birthday.

After getting through January and February, March seemed to come along in its normal way. Screech.... Early on there were indicators that something was wrong. Something for which so many of us were unprepared. Quite frankly, I had never even heard of this before. There was an enemy lurking and its name is COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus. Many months later, we have come to know and understand this potentially deadly virus a little better.

During the time span of late January through early February of 2020, I can recall candid conversations with an acquaintance of Asian descent. During the early months of this year, she shared comments about certain things she knew and understood far better than I. She had begun to warn me, in her own and inimitable way, of things to avoid and those things which should claim my attention.

What I did not know when my friend Sheila and I went to New York the first weekend in February, and experienced what could only be described as a wonderful time, was that we "the people" were in the midst of a global pandemic.

After our weekend trip to New York in February, early the following Monday morning, we waited outside the main entrance of the hotel for a cab, taking in the sights and sounds of this city. Wrapped in warm layers of clothing, we arrived at the Amtrak station for a leisurely return trip home. We were totally unaware the Coronavirus was already moving through the streets, buildings, subways and boroughs of New York City.

Please check out our YouTube video Jill and Sheila's 2020 New York Adventure.

As the months passed by, schools and other establishments were affected. Families were devastated at the rapid and unexpected loss or losses of loved ones, friends and even strangers who had contracted the Coronavirus. Simultaneously, protests, rallies, and outcries for justice were being held from coast to coast after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the shooting of Jacob Blake and others. The Blacks Lives Matter movement circulated throughout the media, politics and communities. Pain seemed to be all around. In addition to all that has taken place, this year has also been an historical year in the election win of President-Elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris. Like so many others who were passionate about this years candidates and their platforms, I wish them, and many others, the very best in the roles they sought and won for the good of the United States of America.

The final days of 2020 have come and gone as our heartstrings have been pulled in so many directions. Yet, let us neither forget the many blessings of babies being born nor the loved ones and friends who have quietly slipped away to their eternal resting place. May they rest in peace.

Recently my friend, Quancidine, gifted me with a beautiful shawl. On a brisk and busy Monday morning, December 21, 2020, I was informed my Stepmother quietly, and peacefully transitioned. In the chilly afternoon of that same day, I decided to go to one of my favorite places to set up my tripod and snap a few photographs, all wrapped up with the shawl around my neck. Feeling the grief of losing my Stepmother, I thought of her fondly and the love and friendship we had shared over the years.

On this final day of 2020 I send warm thoughts to you, your loved ones and friends for a brighter today, tomorrow and a happy New Year.