Historically, and in my personal lifetime, when a catastrophic event (large or small scale) came, it often brought communities and families together. A commonality rose to the surface: humanity.
This is not one of those times.
The waves of this crisis divide us. Additionally, in this age of “technologically connected” the spotlight on just how divided blinds, enlightens, and devastates.
I’m tired. In some ways I feel like the sick I had at the beginning of March just won’t let go. It could also be because of seasonal allergies, my throat appears to be as allergic to spring as my soul.
It is spring, right? I hear it may snow tonight. However, I delivered some goodies to my nephews’ door this AM. I knew not hugging them would be…rough. I stood back. Then sent them pictures of the peeps melting to make the Rice Krispie Bars, so it must be spring…
And of course there’s the fatigue borne of stress and anxiety. It weighs over us all. Some bodies react by prohibiting sleep, my body can’t seem to get enough. There’s so much to do and be done, and yet I cannot stay awake or alert enough to do…
So, back to the divide. About 10% of the country is currently unemployed. Many others are underemployed. Millions are “working from home.” Those truly working and/or truly being paid varies over a huge spectrum. The “gig employee” is fundamentally screwed. From there we have other workers: the small business community, the frontline delivery, retail, and other service workers, and then medical or care-related workers. These groups are working their tails off WHILE, in many cases, still dealing with cooped up kids, worrying about elderly or other vulnerable family, and trying/praying/hoping against hope, to not get sick. Keeping in mind it’s largely the vulnerable and marginalized who are serving or caring for the public, plus all this.
It looks like, from the ads and emails, at least half the country is “bored” and has all kinds of time. I suspect the other half of the country would welcome a touch of boredom, or just a minute to catch their breath.
I wish people wouldn’t tell me how much time they think I have. My colleagues and business associates are also stressed and running on fumes, while looking for a break that is nowhere on the horizon.
Yet, we also remind ourselves, we’re the lucky ones.
What a strange time.
We don’t know how the “end” of this will arrive and what it will look like. How many more ends will there be before a bounce back? What will we lose forever? What can “come back?”
Some Talking Heads think it’s helpful or hopeful to put a timeline on this crisis. However, this moment in our combined history is not running off a man-made timeline. Oh, Man can make it worse, maybe already has, and history will have a lot of coulda-shoulda opinions I’m sure. But here in the thick of it, there’s a certain amount of “Just keep swimming.” To be done. Plus a bit more of “Let it Go.” I’m better at the swimming than the let it go. Metaphorically, of course, I’m not really a swimmer. And for that matter, metaphorically, I’m really just treading water. Hoping the waves don’t take us deeper into the middle of the sea. The vast unknowns.
So many lost already, divided and alone. This story of these strangers who look a little like us…
Man with Down syndrome dies from COVID-19 one week after his mother https://t.co/lvSg6uHbKp
— Mardra Sikora (@MardraSikora) April 11, 2020
Oh God, don’t take me first. Don’t let him die alone…and the song “wait for me” from Hadestown rushes over me every time I think of it.
Two nights ago I dreamt vividly of an “underground “ where medical, and non medical caretakers, were secretly treating people with disabilities in homes turned into makeshift care centers, because the hospitals wouldn’t take them, or would…but just let them die. Alone. Will it come to that? Has it already?
This talk of “sacrificing lives”…
Tx Lt Gov Dan Patrick says grandparents would be willing to die to save the economy for their grandchildren pic.twitter.com/wC3Ngvtsbj
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) March 24, 2020
It’s not like the virus has a simple quota to reach, then it stops.
“Oh, thanks for the 100,000 grandparents you martyred up to ‘save the economy.’ I’ll just go on my way now…”
Ummm. Not how pandemics work.
Of course, who am I to say? I’m as much an expert as the next guy. What do I know about pandemics? Nothing. Actually. Just reading the news, looking for multiple sources, trying to filter the hype from the truth. Which, scientifically speaking, is a moving target.
Maybe the plan to “open the country” will somehow magically return our worlds to “normal” just as simply as a manifestation of a good idea. Maybe it will, in fact, save our livelihoods.
I don’t know.
We’re all stressed.
Here’s what I do know: Stress is not a competition. Every single person is dealing with a new set of challenges today that he/she/they never experienced before. Maybe never even imagined. And we’re doing it decidedly divided.
We’re continuing to share our frustrations, hopes, and silver linings on social media platforms. We’re continuing to judge others and share our outrage at decisions we know nothing about. We’re continuing to believe and share what we want to believe, often instead of what’s helpful or sometimes even true. (I fell for one last week, it was a believable spoof and I did laugh. And then I laughed at myself for believing it.) And yes, we’re doing this out of our own little stress-bubble.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we we could come out the other side less divided?
Does sharing our story only emphasize the divide?
Because our singular story is not the same as anyone else’s story.
I know we are lucky. We are blessed. We are clinging to today.
We are tired, confused, and scared.
We are working hard. We are treading water. We wish we could help better than we can/do.
Maybe we are all singing the same song along this new, unusual road.
“I am not alone. I hear the rocks and stones echoing my song.”
In these ways, perhaps we are together.
Friends, I’m asking a favor today. Tell me now, where/how have you found you are not alone?
Even if we are all facing fear, if we face it together…
Your heart, your hope, your words give me strength. I know you understand, and that I am never alone.
Thank you dear Melody. Love you!
Cats. They’re why I’m not alone and why I can’t go.
Let’s face it – they need you. I know they won’t admit it, but it’s true.
I’ve seen virtual communities related by interests popping up everywhere: The Bodysmith has virtual workouts and coffee get-togethers; music teachers (like me) have a forum for learning how to teach online and how to adjust to teaching through Zoom; Facebook amplifies the good and the bad, but we’re all meeting there and on other social platforms. Video calls with friends and family.
Let me add that we’re also adjusting to being cooped up with people we (hopefully) love, but even that is its own challenge. Be kind.
Remember the pillars of health: food, sleep, stress management, exercise. Unplug when you need to. Reach out when you need to. Breathe deeply.