When I turn back and reflect on my life for a while, I must admit I have never had such a difficult year as 2021. I had to make heavy decisions before, my heart was also broken a few times, I felt truly traumatized when we started our life in a new country. But still, these were just isolated episodes. But the year when I felt crushed was the year 2021.
In January 2021 we received information, that one of the best friends of my husband died in an accident. I still remember that it was the first message that my husband read on the morning of his birthday… The shock of the news was shortly replaced by sadness and also a bit of fear for his life partner (our friend too) and their 2 kids. It just didn’t feel right to say farewell to a man of our age and the dad of small kids.
Shortly after, in February 2021 my mom passed away. She had suffered from Alzheimer’s dementia and her last almost 2 years she spent in a care house. It had already felt unfair when she was diagnosed in her 55 years. She passed away 9 years after starting the treatment, often not recognising me or any of her siblings. I had always pictured us spending a good time together when she retires, but I had to accept the reality of my kids having very few memories of her. I also have to confess, that somewhere inside me I had wished not to see her completely over-taken by the illness. And someone probably answered my secret fear and took her away before this time would have come. But the sadness and empty place in my heart have been there since last February. Even if they aren’t overwhelming, there are present and real and can’t be replaced. One just has to learn to live with them.
During spring 2021 I experienced burn-out from not being able to fulfil my professional dreams in Finland. I was looking for a job for more than 2 years. For 2 years, I had only received refusals or was ghosted. Depression was knocking on my door and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was in need of some professional help. We had luckily decided on more than 2 months long holidays in our home country and it truly helped. Spending time with family and friends, and enjoying summertime was what I needed. To maybe forgot everything about my situation.
During that stay, I saw my granny for the last time. The mother of my mother. She followed her daughter and passed away in September 2021. Even though it was expected and even though I had a chance to say goodbye to her, it was another loss that I experienced the previous year.
I can imagine you might wonder why I am writing about it all? I wanted to tell you, that these were the circumstances under which I created My Salmiakki Life. I knew, that I was in a bad place at that moment and I also knew, there are probably other people who struggle with the same, similar or completely different and more difficult issues. I was wondering whether we can share also our worries and unsuccessful stories in a public space. Will people be interested to share them or reading them? Does it make any sense to write about the struggles that expat life brings? Is it anyhow interesting to go public with happy and successful moments too?
And I can tell you that it is worth it. Not only that people are interested, but they are also extremely supportive. I wish to have more time to build a real community of authors around the webpage, as it was originally planned. I wish to have more time for doing interviews and some other smaller projects that I wanted. The web page is not perfect, but it serves its’ purposes. Out of the worst year of my life came something that I can be proud of. And for my other struggles, I actually needed only a little bit of luck…
A little bit of luck is sometimes all you need. And it might come when it is the least expected. Don’t give up.