Prior to the pandemic crashing into and upheaving our lives I already was challenged with trying to keep my ship upright and on course so to speak. After all, I was (and still am) a full time working wife and mother who needed to be everywhere and everything to everyone all at once. Then in an instant life changed and I was unprepared for the fall-out that was ultimately going to occur.
First came the school and daycare shut downs with the shift to virtual learning. What a joke for the working parent who couldn’t possibly stay on top of the school work for one child much less multiple children – and then try and teach the course content when they themselves didn’t quite understand it. There were meltdowns and tears from all my kids (and even some from myself) as I tried to get them logged onto learning platforms and zoom meetings and then complete ridiculously thick school paper packets of work – all the while begging and pleading for them to focus, pay attention, and just do the effin work. Who can possibly navigate such chaos and not want to run screaming from their house never to return.
In the midst of the school shut down there was the child care challenges as I scrambled to make sure my kids were accounted for and supervised – not an easy task when both parents were essential for their jobs.
And then there was my job. In 20 years of nursing nothing could have prepared me for the absolute devastation this virus brought. Healthcare was forever transformed and I was in the thick of things. My unit was saw positive patients each and every day; and each and every day my coworkers and I suited up and tried out best to provide them with the care they needed. At times we were their only human connection and that took its toll on us mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Even the most seasoned as strong of us broke down and shed tears of utter sadness at the fact that our best for some wasn’t good enough. We were exhausted and yet we pushed on because we were needed. It was a very dark time for everyone. All the while we did our best to help our patients, we prayed for our own safety and health – and even more so we prayed we didn’t bring anything home to our loved ones. I didn’t kiss or hug my kids or husband for months so as to minimize any chance of exposing them to anything I was exposed to. I carried around changes of clothes and made a beeline for the shower each and every time I came home. It was an absolute nightmare.
As we are now in the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” phase of life as I like to call it (that phase where we are waiting for the next COVID surge), we are living the “new normal.” I hate this term because there is nothing normal about wearing a mask daily, sending your kids to school only some of the days, still trying to tackle virtual learning, and distancing yourself from social situations. People have become wary and suspicious of each other. No one smiles at anyone anymore. Avoidance is what you now see everywhere you go. No one wants to be near one another. I can only imagine the psychological and emotional long term effects my children will exhibit in years to come. It scares me to think that their formidable years are going to be shaped by fear, illness, and isolation.
So navigating this pandemic is what I am challenged to do, day in and day out. I am going to try and make the best of an imaginable situation. I am going to be grateful for my health and the health of my family and friends. I am going to be grateful that I have a job when so many are struggling as the economy tanks. I am going to hope, hope that we all get through this and that humanity as a whole survives.