Friends, this is a very personal blog post. One that I took out, almost word for word, from my journal. It’s how I’m feeling right now and I know I’m not alone, especially after seeing this NPR article discussing the exact way I was feeling. This is raw and real. But the beautiful thing is that we’re all in this together. And we will come out on the other side of this. Yes, forever changed and different than before. But we will persevere nonetheless. There are a lot of scary headlines out there but there are also lots of ones full of hope, showcasing the incredible resiliency of humans everywhere. Read through to the end to see just that.
Well, here we are. In a pandemic.
What is life right now? Everything is weird and you can’t help but long for the life you had before this. How normal it all was.
You constantly go back and forth with your thoughts. One minute you’re panicking and wondering how this whole thing will change the course of your life. The next minute you’re laughing with your partner, eating nachos, and playing scrabble. Trying to find some normalcy in all of this.
I can’t stop thinking about how much this time reminds me of when my dad got sick. How we were waiting around for the inevitable. How we had to go through the motions of daily life and even through events like Halloween and Thanksgiving. Forever trying to find that normalcy, just like now. And so, there I was completing detailed plans for my sub while away from school and sending them to my team. Because what else was I going to do as I literally sat around waiting for my dad to die? (Maybe that was a harsh sentence to read, but death is a part of life and this was my reality at the time.)
And because of this, people were blown away by my resiliency. They saw the hard work I was still putting into my job while going through something so devastating. What they didn’t realize was that it wasn’t necessarily because I wanted to continue to do well, to be a good teacher. No, it was just a nice distraction from my current reality.
In tragic situations like when I lost my dad, people are often blown away when you’re doing everyday things. They like to tell you you’re strong. And maybe you are. Because of the way you’ve handled things. But then you think, “What other choice do I have? What are my other options here? Life will go on after this whether I’m ready or not. So I’ve got to find a way to deal. One way or another.”
Sounds and feels awfully familiar doesn’t it? I mean, yeah. Let’s be honest.
This pandemic sucks.
Some days all I want to do is lose myself in an internet hole and spend the evening drinking wine. Is that healthy? No. But it’s true. And honestly, it’s okay. We’re going through a traumatic experience here. We’re allowed to grieve the life we once had.
Then other days I wake up with a sense of purpose. Ready to face this thing head on and determined to make the best of a bad situation. I take the day moment and moment and find little ways to keep myself busy. And often times, that actually works.
What’s interesting though, which I’ve realized in writing this, is that it’s much harder when we’re all going through this same tragic experience together. There’s a lot less around to distract us. Because when I was going through losing my dad, everyone else outside of my family was getting on with their life. I could find ways to step out of my uncomfortable reality for a little while. It didn’t have to be this all-consuming thing.
But at the same time, this shared experience brings this feeling of connectedness. That whole “we’re all in this together” mentality. And oddly enough, I think that is what will help us get through.
If I’ve learned anything from my life experiences, you can’t live in a constant state of fear and anxiety. At least I can’t. It just isn’t possible.
So, what do you do?
You hold onto that little shred of hope you still have left. No matter how small.
You ride the waves of emotions through all the ups and downs.
You stay informed without drowning in a sea of scary headlines.
You find quotes and stories that tug at your heartstrings in the best way.
You remind yourself to take a deep breath, drink some water, and get dressed every morning.
You call your friends and loved ones and feel that human connection.
You take solace in little plants growing and flowers blooming all around you.
You continue to live life each day, through the good and the bad.
Because in the end…
What other choice do you have?
A little collection of poems, songs, videos, stories, and more to bring light to you in this time.
The NPR Article on Grief I mentioned earlier was super helpful in identifying what I was feeling and has some great tips as well.
We will get through this hard time and come out on the other side stronger and more grateful than ever before.
Sending you so much love,