Pandemic Losses and Pandemic BlessingsAug 23, 2020
I was driving home today after a glorious week helping out with two of my grandchildren. I hadn't seen them since February thanks to the pandemic. As always when I've been with them and it's time to leave, I had a huge lump in my throat.
This time, the lump felt bigger than usual. One reason was because I wasn't sure when I might see them again. It will depend on what happens moving forward with Covid.
The main reason though, is that the route I took there and back was the same route that I took each year as I headed to and from our annual family vacation at the lake. That and Thanksgiving are the only two times each year that it is guaranteed that our whole family will be together. Both my sons and their wives, all of my grandchildren, and myself and my husband. My heart is never as full as it is when my whole clan is together under one roof.
As I drove home I thought about how much I missed the anticipation of the vacation. The towing of the jetski. The trunk full of cases of juice boxes, water, and wine. I passed the gas station where I stop each summer on the way. I thought about that first sunset on the lake each year when we adults sit and relax and look forward to our week together while the cousins run around and play - so excited to be together for the week.
Covid took that away this year.
As I drove home I reflected on my losses from the pandemic. They are minor losses, and I'm very aware of that.
As I started writing this post, I began to also reflect on the blessings that resulted from Covid.
Losses in Addition to Our Family Time
Annual Getaway with my Husband
My husband (up until this year) travels for work quite a bit. My mother in law lives with us year round and my parents normally live with us over the summer. I spend as much time as I can helping out with grandchildren.
So, each year, my husband and I try to get away alone together. Just for 3-5 days. Just to be able to focus on ourselves and each other.
Not this year.
A couple of summers ago, I started the tradition of Cousin Camp at my house. It was still in the beginning phases, but something that we all looked forward to. It consisted of two days of activities and fun for all grandchildren over the age of 3 at Yammi and G-dah's house with a sleepover.
Not this summer.
My Parents Couldn't Make it Up This Summer
Each summer my dad and stepmom come up from Florida in June and stay with us through September. We so look forward to our time together and it gives them a chance to see their four kids, 8 grandkids, and 5 great grands.
Each night we enjoy a happy hour together outside while we talk about our day. Each night I go downstairs to say goodnight and sit with them for a bit. Each morning we talk about our plans for the day and what we want to do for dinner.
Not this summer.
And this, perhaps, is the most painful pill to swallow. Because, as robbed as I feel by Covid, my dad will be 84. He has lost an entire summer with his family. At 84.
And I have no idea when I might see them again.
I'm a Hugger
It's been a learning curve for me not to automatically go to someone and give them a hug. At the beginning I'd forget. Now I've trained myself. It makes me sad.
But.....There Have Been Some Blessings
I've Been Handed an Opportunity to Focus on Me
At a time when I'm redefining certain aspects of my life.
Before Covid happened, I was struggling somewhat with how to move forward in terms of my career. I work as a behavior analyst with kiddos who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and was at a point where I was starting to feel like maybe I was getting too old for this job. I'd always been very physically active with the kids who loved to get tickles and play chase and, although I was still able to do that, doing it every day wasn't as easy as it used to be.
Most importantly, I have no excuse not to exercise each and every day.
Time with my Husband
I've so enjoyed the time that we've had together during the pandemic. It's been a pleasure to learn that we enjoy co-existing on a day to day basis.
New Connections with Friends
The popularity of Zoom has allowed me to connect with friends more often than I would have, had we not had to quarantine.
I have a good friend who moved to Minnesota last year. We'd gotten together whenever she was back in town, but once the pandemic hit and she wasn't travelling, we began zooming more frequently and being in closer touch.
I have a regular happy hour get together that has started as a result of Covid. Three of us that never would have ended up as a group otherwise.
In addition, there are the driveway parties and other outside socially distant events. We have moved away from meeting at a bar/restaurant after work for a glass of wine, to outdoors. It's been wonderful.
I Know that I Have a Lot to Be Grateful For
I did an article for Sixty and Me a couple of months ago on how it's okay to have the occasional pity party during this time. And that's what I was doing on my drive home yesterday.
The "losses" that I describe above aren't truly losses and I'm aware of that. People have lost loved ones as a result of this pandemic. And have had to watch them die and bury them via Facetime. That, to me, is the most horrible effect of Covid.
There are those who are struggling financially during this time. And those who have recently lost spouses and are having to be quarantined alone.
There are the parents that I work with who are quarantined with children who have behaviors that are difficult to manage and these behaviors are substantially increased with the current lack of structure because due to cancelled school and therapies.
We have no idea what this coming year will look like. Winter will prevent many of us from continuing our outside socially distant gatherings. The holidays might be different.
I will continue to have the occasional pity party along the way. I will also continue to count my blessings. As well as say prayers for those who are truly suffering as a result of this pandemic.