What an incredible journey we have all been through. I was certainly not prepared for a pandemic. I thought it only happened in the movies. To live through it and survive is beyond my mental being. As I reflect on the past year, I know there will be several novels written about it by many. We can all write one. For many, our stories will be similar.
I am curious as to how each one of you made the journey. For many, there were caregivers. By this, I mean you set a new bar of caring, and you probably did not know it. Those you know and love became your target. We had a sense of protection for all of them. What are you doing? Where are you going? Are you following all the guidelines? Do you have to do it? Do you have what you need to bunker down? The list can go on and on.
You cared about your parents, children, neighbors, friends, co-workers, essential workers, the mailman, the amazon man, the police, the suppliers, and even some politicians. We became a nation of caring. In return, we all became caregivers to each other. We gained a greater sense of caring. It was always there, but we were too busy to notice it. We slowed down.
The first month was full of anxiety and fear. In the second month, we became optimistic. We realized we are not alone. We are all in this mess. We began new ways of communicating.
The power of communication became our lifelines. The digital world became a major asset, including education. We paid particular attention to various education platforms. The zoom meetings, Facebook, Instagram, Facetime, Twitter, and so much more became our new way of communication.
Where was the joy? For many, it was in the little things. For many, it was the simple joy of knowing that those we cared for were ok. Empathy reigned. Safety was the focus of everything we did.
True, there were way too many losses. Jobs, loss of income, travel halted (some could not come home), sense of belonging, and most of all, death. The experience of losing someone is bad enough, but not being with them as they passed will trouble many for the rest of their lives.
Our feelings were all too real. But at the end of it, there were lessons. The lack of freedom gave many of us new insights into living the rest of our lives and what is really important to us. As a control freak myself, I had a difficult time. Empathy was always a strong suit of mine. Combine this with resilience, and it taught me to listen more and ask others about their needs and try to help fill them.
Every one of you rose up. You cared. You were the heroes in this war. May we continue to be a nation of caring people. I would love to hear your COVID lessons.