IT has been a year best forgotten but, unfortunately and understandably, we are likely to remember 2020 for all the wrong reasons.
A lethal, brutal, merciless virus cast a very dark shadow on the doors of so many homes and its indiscriminate savagery ended lives, destroyed families and devastated so many people.
It was a year in this country in which a rampant and deadly disease caused over 2,000 hearts to stop and thousands more to break, often with so many words left unspoken, stories not shared and hopes and dreams left unfulfilled.
Yet now, in the final hours of the pitiless year that was, despite the incidence of infection spreading faster and wider than at any stage of the pandemic, there is finally hope emerging in the form of a vaccine that we wished for and prayed for.
It will, of course, take time to bring it everywhere it needs to be and, in the meantime, we must be patient, exercise greater caution than ever before, look after those we love and look after ourselves.
For now, we are still filled with considerable anguish. Parents worry about their children. Children worry about their parents.
Those running our hospitals fear they will not be able to cope such is the surge in demand for the wonderful care they can offer.
Business owners fret about the future, their staff fear for their jobs and so many are scared of what tomorrow could bring.
But this too shall end. There will be better days ahead. The tears will dry, the wounds will heal. It will get better.
We shall never forget. We will forever remember the ravages caused by the coronavirus as it surged relentlessly, viciously, constantly through every town, city, village and parish in this country and beyond.
It has made its mark. It has taken a deadly toll. But thanks to the genius factor involved in medical science, it will be defeated. Sooner rather than later.
There’s an old proverb that a man who removed the mountain began by carrying away small stones and, in that respect, we must be patient.
For now, we should welcome the opportunity to turn over a new leaf; a chance pick up the pieces and start again. Let us embrace the new beginning that 2021 will bring and, while remaining on our guard, prove our great resilience and our total determination to live our lives in the way to want to live them.
Our great wish for the year ahead is that Killarney people everywhere will stay safe, be sensible, have laughter-filled days, look after themselves and each other and that the words coronavirus and Covid quickly become part of last year’s language.
Tomorrow will present the first blank page of a new book on all our lives. Let’s ensure we write it well and not let any other hand guide the pen.
Happy New Year to everyone.
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Happy New Year.