2020, The Year of Pandemonium, Pandemics & Pondering
What does the pandemic mean to me? First, I’d like to say that even though I work here at Crossroads, I am not a therapist or a counselor, and this is strictly my own personal view and opinion.
I generally like to think of myself as a simple girl living in a pretty normal town. Growing up, I have the best memories of spending time with my family and my sister (who is also my best friend) and playing with my cousin and all of the neighborhood kids. Spending time outside and feeling totally safe––ah, the 90’s, right? The small things were so precious. I must admit though, you wouldn’t find me outside if I was trying to level up on my Nintendo or Sega Genesis. Suddenly, life pressed the fast-forward button and here I am: A 30-year-old woman trying to make it in life during the COVID-19 pandemic. My main priority? Raise and protect a kind, beautiful little human who calls me “Mommy.” My miracle baby.
In order to fully care for others, we must care for ourselves and keep our own mental health in check, right? Well, right before COVID became national news here in the U.S., I lost my grandmother. My grandma was a true lady. She was a beautiful woman both inside and out. My other beautiful grandmother? She suffered a fall and broke her hip, landing her in the hospital for months.
My grandparents have been an important part of my life. I spent so much time with both sets of my grandparents, and I am so very fortunate to have had them with me for my entire 30 years of life. I truly want to thank my parents and grandparents for shaping me into the person I am today. With them, I have learned the most important things in life. One of the most important examples I try to follow is to provide for my family and to always set a good example. Family will always be a top priority to me.
When COVID came to the United States, I remember thinking, “Ok this is it. We knew this was coming, I am prepared and I can handle it.” Little did I know that I did not have the slightest clue as to what was about to happen. Most people who know me now know that I try to find the positive in all situations. What a lot of people don’t know is that I myself struggle with depression. Then tragedy struck upon two of the strongest ladies I know: my grandmothers. One was taken too soon and the other suffered from a terrible accident that forced her to stay in bed and suffer through painful surgeries.
I know that I can’t bring my grandma back, and I can’t fix my other grandma. I have found myself going through many ups and downs within the last couple of months. I went from “Okay. You’ve got this today,” to a total 180 of “Oh hell. This is a total nightmare.” I lost my positive outlook. I grew angry and inside I was screaming. It was a feeling of being out of control and not knowing what the heck was going to happen. The feeling that life was unfair.
Then I did it. I wasn’t looking to do it, it just happened. Do you know that private and quiet place you have heard about escaping to? I was ready to find mine. I was getting ready to run my nightly bath to relax when I just decided to lay down right there, still fully clothed, in my bathroom next to the tub. I stared up at the ceiling and started picturing my life. The ups, the downs, the great memories and some not so great memories. I pitied myself and cried. Then I had a laugh, then I sobbed some more. I felt all of my emotions at once. The feeling was shocking. It reminded me of the feeling of starting my vehicle in the morning and realizing too late that I had left the volume all the way up from the night before because my favorite ELO song was on.
Suddenly I felt numb. All of my thoughts came together and then my mind went blank. I closed my eyes and kept whispering “Reset. Please. This is only a nightmare.” After opening my eyes and realizing I was in the same spot, I quickly turned the water off the water to my almost overflowing bathtub and resumed with my nightly routine. The next day, I drove to the cemetery and laid on the ground next to my grandmother’s grave. I told her about my week and played Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” several times on repeat on my phone. The wind softly blew and brushed against my face. I know it was my grandma, telling me she’s there and everything is going to be okay. I told her I loved her, and I’d be back to visit soon.
Then I decided it was time to get on the road and drive to see my other grandmother. She came up to the window of the nursing home in her wheelchair so we could talk. We spoke on the phone and told each other we couldn’t wait to hug one another and that we would get through this. I touched her hand through the glass and blew a kiss. Over the next couple of days, I called and connected with several family members and friends and told everyone I loved them and couldn’t wait to see them. I bought a new pair of roller skates and a vintage bike and have found comfort in doing some of the old things I used to do as a kid. Things are rough right now, but it’s perfectly normal to feel bad and down once in a while. But it is important to remember that we will get through this.
To everyone reading this: We are all in this together, and I love you all.
a simple girl living in Creston.