Leonardo's smile

Things we are grateful for in 2020

2020 is the year that many of us want to forget but will remember. In this year, our family experienced utmost happiness when Leonardo entered the world in March and deepest sorrow when he was taken away from us seven months later. As we are ushering in 2021, we would like to reflect on what we are grateful for in life:

  1. Becoming parents: We never knew we could love someone so much until we became parents. At the same time, we became more vulnerable than ever as even a tiny little thing that happened to our baby could get us on pins and needles. Taking on parenting responsibilities also strengthened our relationship. We worked as a team. We learned beautiful lessons and gained meaningful experiences together. Parenthood transformed us. Parenthood transformed our marriage. Toward a better version.

  2. Creating unforgettable memories with Leonardo: Seven months was very, very short, but we cherished and treasured every moment with him. He never ceased to amaze us with his ability to learn new skills and his curiosity about the world. Nothing can take away those memories and our love for him. His smiles, his giggles, his bright eyes, his tiny hands and feet are forever printed in our hearts. He is and will forever be our angel baby.

  3. Receiving unconditional love from our families: In times of hardships, we lean on one another to find strength. The long distance doesn’t stop Enrico’s parents from checking on us regularly and offering help in any way they possibly can. Despite all the risks associated with traveling during this pandemic, Pinky’s mom flew to Singapore on her own, served quarantine in a hotel where she could not even ask for a bottle of water as she doesn’t speak English. Pinky’s sister dropped everything in Germany to fly back home - for good - to stay close to our parents.

  4. Having/forming priceless friendships: Friends, together with families, are the lifeline that provides critical support to us during this trying time. Emails, messages, calls, songs, home visits, flowers, food, weekend outings, Christmas dinner - friends from near and far have kept us in their company and thoughts. We’ve also formed new friendships with other bereaved parents who are kind enough to walk us through their grieving and healing journeys.

  5. Living in relatively safe places: Singapore and Vietnam are ranked #5 and #12, respectively, on the list of best places to be in during the pandemic by Bloomberg. Both countries have handled the COVID-19 outbreak quite well so we feel safe to be here. Our biggest concern is the safety of Enrico’s parents in Italy. Fortunately, they live on an island far away from the epicenter of the pandemic, which gives us a little peace of mind.

  6. Becoming more empathetic: Being struck by and stuck in some enormous pain is also a lesson to become more compassionate. It helps us connect with those who experience similar hardships on a deeper level and take better care of ourselves and one another.

  7. Being alive: COVID-19, natural disasters, accidents, and so on, have claimed millions of lives in 2020. We are lucky that we’ve got to live, survive, and exist. We can drag ourselves out of bed every morning to face the world and continue our journey, despite heartbreaks and pain, failure and disappointments.

In one of the many touching emails that have poured into our mailboxes over the past months, a friend of Pinky’s wrote: “Life can be so unfair and cruel at times. It can also be magical and beautiful.” We wish you all a magical and happy new year! Keep safe, everyone!

Leonardo merlion