I share in the emotions and questions that most people have during this uncertain time, at least those I am surrounded by. What is this? Where did it really come from? How do we stop it? How do I protect myself, my loved ones? What happens if I get it? How long will this last? So many thoughts and questions.
Having trained numerous people about the principles of a wellbeing orientation and the Five Domains of Wellbeing, I sat down to reflect on my own wellbeing during this crisis.
As a single woman, I was very proactive in gathering the essential items my household would need in the event I am unable to leave home for an undetermined amount of time. I was disturbed, as many others were, to see the mania arise as people began to realize the very real possibilities and outcomes that threatened our lives following the entry of COVID-19 into our American borders. We thought we were safe … we were safe, until a few weeks ago.
Once sheltered in place I began to take stock. I am fortunate to have already been a remote employee so there was nothing required to rearrange my physical space to sustain working from home. I only needed to add in some back-up office supplies and acclimate myself with a few new tech platforms. Or at least one would think. Truth is, this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. But that’s life right? Full of transitions — good or bad. Some we plan. Some we never anticipate, let alone have the opportunity to prepare for.
I don’t think I mentioned: I am also a grandmother. One who, during this time of sheltering in place, went unexpectedly (but willingly) from living alone to full-time occupancy with several little people. They are all under the age of nine. Four of the eight members of my household, myself included, are immunocompromised. That simply means we are at a higher risk of a more unfavorable outcome should we contract the virus. But the added anxiety of “not contracting the virus” is ever looming. We feel completely safe in our house. But outside of these walls are people, young and old, against whom we must protect ourselves. Our necessity to strongly implement social distancing is not optional. And though we are blessed to have been able to obtain the things we need, I am still overwhelmed with all that is happening. Mostly because I am still juggling the many hats of being a single, female head of household.
I continue to process, and think through, and figure out, and plan how to, and make adjustments for, and reach out and respond to, and this is just the beginning. But actually it doesn’t feel like the beginning because this pandemic comes right smack dab in the middle of the already existing continuum of crises I was already trying to handle. So, as I struggle to find my balance and reach deep within for all that my grandmother instilled, I remind myself constantly that this can be done. It has to be done. All is and will be well.
My list of gratitude evolves as I realize I am more fortunate than some because I have access to meaningful and relevant resources that matter to me. Starting with employment. I work for an organization that has appropriately responded to our national crisis, to say the least, and has been extremely supportive as our entire organization succumbs to the global impact of COVID-19. Next, I am fortunate to have stable and adequate housing. Though I sometimes feel crowded as an ex-empty-nester-now-caregiver-of-six, at least we all have a bed to crawl into at night. Finally, I have working utilities and enough food and supplies to get us by. I am sure my granny would be so proud! One thing she for sure taught us as a family of women is how to survive. My moment of mastery.
But when night falls I struggle to sleep. I still can’t help but worry about the many, many individuals who don’t have access. And though I am hopeful that this global crisis will somehow bring down the walls of racism, inequity and greed in our midst, I am forced to watch its ugly head rear from the chaos of fear and uncertainty. In other countries we see unity and a joining together of humanity. We can’t seem to get it together. Or at least our leaders can’t. So once again the responsibility to figure it out is put on the backs of the people. People are without food, needed supplies, babies without formula and diapers. This is America. My America. Our America. And I am heartbroken.
As I find myself completely overwhelmed and unable to fight back tears, I wonder if my granny ever felt like this. Like it was all too much. I wonder if she ever felt scared. I never saw fear or worry in her face. And that’s the beauty of parenting, the amazing grace of grand-parenting: to shield your babies as much as you can from worry and fear.
So I reach a little deeper and there it is: the strength, the resiliency that I will draw from yet again to manage my way through another crisis, or two, or three. The courage that will carry me through to the other side of the storm. I know all will be well because I’ve weathered challenges many times before. While my stability has been disrupted in this crisis, I have connectedness with my family and friends. I am safe in my home. I have meaningful access to relevant resources. And I feel a sense of mastery to see us through.
The women of faith in my community often speak about “going through” when we are faced with different trials and tribulations as an individual or family. On our way through this, we will laugh and we will love and we will eat. Even if it is syrup sandwiches, hunny we will eat! Because that’s what grandmothers do. We show our children — and our children’s children — the way to the other side of through.