2021 has been the worst year of my life.
The stand-out worst things being the loss of my father, and then one month and three days later, the loss of Baloo.
But those were not the only shit things that happened in 2021. Let’s take it from the top!
The year started in lockdown, and that lockdown didn’t end until May. During that time, I had rescheduled the retreat I was meant to host with my friend Verena three times. It was eventually cancelled.
It was during this lockdown that Alex and I decided that Germany sucked and we didn’t want to live here anymore, so the whole year we talked about moving into the van. We were planning to do it in October, just after the Morocco retreat.
Hold that thought.
In March of 2021, I missed my sister’s wedding due to Australia’s incompetence in handling this pandemic.
Things started to look up as the sun came out. Alex and I did little project things on the van, getting it ready to live in full time. We went on a trip up north to Rügen, and on the way home from that trip, Herbert broke down.
We wouldn’t get Herbert back for six more months.
In September, my dad’s health took a turn and he ended up in hospital. He could no longer eat, and after meetings with doctors we decided to make the necessary arrangements to feed him via a tube. And then he pulled the tube out and was given two weeks to live.
He lived for two more weeks.
Even if I could've afforded the $17,000 flight – the only one available from Berlin to Adelaide – it wasn’t scheduled until October and that would’ve been too late.
Oh, the Morocco retreat was cancelled too.
On top of not being able to see my dad a final time or attend his funeral in person, the funeral parlour were going to charge me $2,500 to live stream the eulogy I had written. I moved into the anger phase of grief pretty quickly.
My mother sorted that out and I was able to give my eulogy in real time, but none of that made up for the fact that a year and a half into this pandemic, Australia still hadn’t sorted it’s shit out and I missed something I will never be able to get back.
PS. Australia still hasn’t sorted it’s shit out.
Alex and I took a road trip to Budapest, Hungary after the funeral. It was the best second-best thing. I had been reading one of dad’s favourite books to him, about a Hungarian doctor called Semmelweis, and after sending him the last chapter, he died. It was significant for me to visit Semmelweis’ grave and pay my respects to a man that meant a lot to me and my father.
On that trip, Baloo bumped his head.
A lump came up and we had the vet take a look. She said it would go down in a week or two. It wasn’t going down and we took him back. She gave us some anti-inflammatories and said maybe it was infected and that’s why it was still there. And that night Baloo had three seizures before we rushed him to the emergency vet at three o’clock in the morning. The vet said it was probably a tumour and we could say goodbye then. Or we could get an MRI. At four thirty in the morning, we went back home and slept in shifts so we could manage his next two seizures. I took him to have an MRI thinking my first vet was right and maybe it was an infection. We had a consultation with the MRI vet an hour and a half later. She told us it was a cancerous tumour which had started in his nose and moved into his brain. We asked; ‘What next?’ and the vet said; ‘He’s asleep now. We should let him keep sleeping.’
And that was the next worst day of my life.
And since that day I haven’t felt the same.
Last week, we got an email saying Herbert was ready. Six months later. But he was ready. And we are ready. Ready to leave this city and embark on a giant distraction from the pain of this year.
Fuck you, 2021.