What If…We Stay Strong

I wrote a post on this weekend one year ago that told the story of my 💖grandmother. Here’s the way I opened it:

“My grandmother’s sister went to a birthday party way back in the year 1918. This was the same year as the Spanish Flu pandemic, which killed an estimated 20-50 million people worldwide. As luck would have it, a family member of the birthday girl had the flu. My grandmother’s sister brought that home- not the party favor you want to get. Her sister recovered from the flu. Then, her mother caught the flu and died. One week later, her father became ill. He also died. My grandmother was four-years-old.” (You can read the rest of it here.)

In the year since I wrote it, that blog post has been shared hundreds of times throughout the 🌎world. I feel 🥰humbled that her story touched so many. A year later, though, I also feel like that story didn’t do enough. My intention was to provide a real connection to a pandemic at a moment when we could only imagine what was coming. It was a warning- of sorts- with the face of my 4-year old grandmother. I hoped that it would illustrate the devastation that a pandemic might bring and help us see that we needed to get this right, regardless of the sacrifices that may come our way.✅ Last summer, there was the report of a 4-year old boy in Texas who lost both of his parents to a pandemic, just like my grandmother.

This year has been ☹️tough- no doubt about it. The lessons have been difficult. Some people wanted life to continue as normal. I understood that, but I also knew that normal couldn’t-shouldn’t-happen. Growing up with a story of loss through a pandemic in my family, I knew that knowledge and action held the power to see this through safely. The shocks kept coming- one after another after another, ripping normal further from our grasp. It hasn’t been all bad, though. The 💜love has also been big. The 💞compassion has been real. I hope the learning will be lasting.

It’s impossible to list everything that left an impression on me since the 🌎world shifted. Many changes have become so absorbed into my new normal that they don’t stand out anymore. Here are a few that I remember from a year unlike any other.

🌸I used to love being out and about. I could invent a 🎯Target run for anything. Now, if I don’t need it immediately, I’m not going to the store.

🌸My ears aren’t symmetrical. I know this because my mask sits higher on the right side of my face than my left.😂

🌸I hope interview shows keep the new, laid-back ✌🏻vibe.

🌸We’re all doing the best we can. Some days are easier than others- even a year later.🙋🏻‍♀️

🌸I’ve enjoyed more time at 🏡home.

🌸People have given me the stink-eye for wearing a 😷mask. People have also given me that look when I forgot.

🌸Depression is a real side effect of a pandemic. 😢Living in isolation isn’t easy—no shame in reaching out for help.

🌸Eating out of boredom is a thing! 🍧Too much time on the couch or in the kitchen. It doesn’t help that my husband is an excellent cook! The fact that I enjoy 🏃🏻‍♀️exercise has been my saving grace.

🌸It no longer looks strange to see people on 📺TV wearing masks.

🌸I have only seen my adult children once this year. 👎🏻ONCE!

🌸My mother hasn’t been in a 🚗vehicle with me since last March.

🌸I love to order 🍽take-out now. It’s also an easy way to support local establishments. They have it figured out!

🌸FaceTime and 💻Zoom are more intimate than I thought possible. When this is the only way you can see certain people, video chats are lifelines.

🌸Our son’s 🎭workplace has been closed since last March. Meanwhile, my husband has worked almost every 📆day since he was called back to work last May. I’m talking 7-days- week after week.

🌸I love the fact that people don’t crowd up next to me in line at the store anymore.

🌸I’m thrilled that so many friends had COVID with no complications. I also know people who now have long-term health complications as a result or didn’t survive the disease. Let’s not forget them.

🌸We’re more divided than I realized.😞

🌸We’re more similar than some may think.😍

🌸You get over the awkwardness of visiting your mom while sitting outside in 🪑chairs that are 6-feet apart in a parking lot at her senior living community pretty quickly when it’s the only way you can see each other in person.

🌸I had my second dose of the 💉vaccine this week, and I’m grateful.

One year has passed. Isn’t that crazy? I remember the 😳confusion and the 😱fear in those early days. We’re almost to the top of the mountain- finally. We can’t give up yet, though. What if…we stay strong to the end? Let’s keep climbing together, and we’ll get there.💖

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