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Joy survives: Readers share memories of the good moments from this year.

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Even in this dark year, there have been moments of lightness, growth and utter joy.

We asked readers to send us photos and videos that captured the positive moments in this pandemic year. We received more than 750 submissions from all over the world — from China to Australia, Mexico to Italy, and across the United States.

You showed us joyous weddings and emotional births, the wonder of nature and the quiet grace of solitude. You shared tearful reunions with grandparents and the tenderness that comes with experiencing great loss. Above all, the submissions showed an appreciation for the experiences and connections that make life meaningful.

RONALD CROOKS, ST. LOUIS

For several years, my husband and I have enjoyed a weekly lunch with one of our best friends. In 2020, we had to find a workaround to be able to continue that tradition. Our solution was to park (occasionally illegally) with the rear ends of our cars facing each other and enjoy lunch from a local restaurant. Responsibly distant from each other, we have had lunch like this almost every week from April to the present. Not being able to be with the people we love has been, perhaps, the most upsetting aspect of the pandemic for my husband and me. In this small way, we have been able to continue to enjoy meaningful, personal contact — and even support struggling local restaurants at the same time.

COURTNEY L.G. DOWELL, CHARLESTON, W.VA.

My family lost my brother, Adam Blake Gale, this year. We still haven’t been able to hold a ceremony because we’re all trying to keep each other well. My sister and I wanted to be safe but desperately needed to be together to grieve. So we started a garden. It provided both sanity and produce. Sometimes you just need to take a hoe and rail at the dirt in order to heal.

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