Janet Petruck Fanaki of RESILIENT PEOPLE

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a lot of anticipation for the year ahead.  Even just saying 2020 sounded fun. 

On January 2, CNN posted an article titled, “20 things to look forward to in 2020”.  Among them were the summer Olympic games, new blockbuster movies and the US presidential election.  

Out of that small sampling we’ve seen the Olympics postponed to 2021, movie houses closed indefinitely and an election that many feel will be fraught with unprecedented anxiety and violence.

2020 has not delivered on the fun but instead brought a lot of bad news and heaviness. 

At only 51 years old, my husband died in February from a lengthy battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer.  My family of now three had so many plans to help with our grief.  

Booking a big trip, getting back to school to be with their friends, having the entire family over for Easter brunch (the first time being together since the funeral) and eagerly anticipating my son’s entry into university this fall. 

And for the first time in years, we were able to start breathing deeply again. 

Living with someone who has a terminal illness came with years of trauma and physical affliction for me.  Honestly, I felt like an elephant was permanently planted on my chest.  

Now, with Adam at peace, we were finally on the road to recovery.

And then COVID-19 happened.  From schools to travel, parks and trendy dinners out with friends the world stopped in the blink of an eye.

So we shut our doors and got comfy in our loungewear, left the car in the garage except for grocery runs and were riveted to news from medical specialists and our politicians on next steps.

And just as we were adapting to “the new normal” the unthinkable happened – the murder of George Floyd.

A black man who was apprehended and asphyxiated with a knee to his neck while lying face down on the ground by a Minneapolis police officer.  All while pleading “I can’t breathe”. 

The charge was for using an alleged $20 counterfeit bill in a shop.  Recorded on many smartphones and shared on 24/7 news, it was taking the year to a new low.

The world rose from their homes in defence of George Floyd and all black people who have been abused and marginalized by society.  

The signs at protests read, “If you were peaceful we wouldn’t need to protest” and “George Floyd’s life mattered”.  

A virus had kept us all quiet for so many weeks but this one event had the world raise their voices and take to the streets.  Masks on and off.

To add insult to injury, US President Donald Trump commenting on the US economic numbers on June 6 saying “it’s a great day for George Floyd” further angering his opponents.

There are few things that have been great this year.

Quora.com published “What’s one thing you’re excited about that’s coming up in 2020?” and the comments were broad. 

So many students looking forward to graduation (cancelled), prom (cancelled), piano camp (cancelled) and birthdays (not cancelled but hold off on blowing out any candles for fear of spreading COVID-19).

One person wrote in, “I’m looking forward to being done with 2019.”  


It’s June 8 and I’m already pining for whatever happened last year because it wasn’t nearly as bad as what we’ve witnessed in the last six months.  

And being a leap year, 2020 will be one that we all wish we could have just skipped right over.  

Janet Petruck Fanaki is the Founder and Lead Creator for RESILIENT PEOPLE. She created the site when her husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer back in 2016. RESILIENT PEOPLE shares profile stories of EXTRAordinary people around the world who are admired for their resilience. Janet lives in Toronto with her two children and mini poodle Ella. Visit RESILIENT PEOPLE at www.resilientpeople.ca, on social @resilientpeopleca and Youtube.

Janet Petruck Fanaki of RESILIENT PEOPLE
Janet Petruck Fanaki offers an early year in review on 2020