This whole thing is nuts, right? No sports, schools closing indefinitely, the stock market crashing. None of this seemed remotely plausible when 2020 began, yet here we are.
Before I jump in, I need to go ahead and say this – I have not contracted, nor has anyone in my family contracted, COVID-19. We are practicing good hand washing, social distancing, and praying with the rest of the nation that this passes quickly.
But still, we have been affected in big ways (to us) in the midst of all the chaos. I was very cynical through the beginning stages of this, and then it all hit me at once. The world was shutting down, and I was struggling to keep up.
Effected by Pandemic
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to feed my kids.
When the hoarding news started, I scoffed. Why are people rushing to get toilet paper and bottled water? Is water going to stop coming out of the faucet now? Does this virus make you use the restroom uncontrollably? What’s the deal? Fast forward to businesses shutting down and schools closing for the “foreseeable future” and I had zero provisions.
I shopped at several stores for several days and could not find bread or baby food for my two kids. The shelves were empty. I grew increasingly anxious about the coming days. In desperation, I asked for help from family and friends. Thankfully, I have people in my life who live in various communities and we sourced bread from a coworker, baby food from another, sandwich meat from my mom, etc. It was humbling and incredible all at once.
Our community and closest support systems shut down.
We draw great strength from our church family. They made the tough (but appropriate) call to not meet corporately on Sunday mornings for the next little while. My entire family loves to attend our church, so it was a big adjustment for us. Thankfully, we were able to live steam our church service and had a great teachable moment with our kiddos.
Whether you garner your strength from your church, community center, neighborhood, or other social club, losing that source of support and gathering can feel isolating and confusing. I urge you to find ways to stay in contact with friends and give virtual hugs during these trying times.
Traumatic separation from my grandmother.
My grandmother fell recently. After a brief stay in the hospital, she was moved into an assisted living facility to do some rehab. She has lived independently until now, and she understood that this was temporary assuming she would get better and back to full strength to live back at home.
Then COVID-19 hit and everything started shutting down. The federal government banned visitors to nursing homes to protect this high risk group of people, and just like that my grandmother went into what she perceived to be isolation. She started to feel abandoned, scared, and confused on why she was alone all the time with no family members to come see her. This is a traumatic experience for my family that has been extremely difficult to navigate emotionally. One of the biggest hopes we have is that this passes quickly so we can all be with her again.
The biggest impact, one with the most lasting effect on our family, will be seeing our neighbors come together to support one another.
I am not a huge fan of neighborhood Facebook pages because they tend to get catty and full of complaints. But these last couple of weeks have restored my faith in the people living in my neighborhood. We have had people post about having an extra loaf of bread, extra diapers and wipes, extra eggs… anything to share with neighbors in need.
We have stay-at-home moms and teachers in our community who have posted endless learning resources for those of us out of the “kids at home” game. We have had people post about being able to give work-from-home parents some respite time by helping watch kids or take them out on walks during the day. We have even had retired teachers offer help and support with tutoring. The entire community has posted that they are available to help anyone they can, and my heart just bursts with pride at every post.
These coming days will be formidable for me and my family, days I will never forget. I will never forget the hopelessness I felt at the beginning, and I will never ever forget the humans in our city and in our lives who displayed love and kindness without a second thought.