The year has been unpredictable. It’s derailed plans, changed cultures, redefined businesses and destroyed economies. It’s strained relationships, nurtured some too, highlighted behavioural flaws like never before and triggered our subconscious fears, dilemmas, thoughts in ways we might still not understand. It has been by far the most mentally exhausting year at least I’ve experienced in my life.
Nothing is normal and I don’t think we even remember what normal means anymore. Anxiety levels are through the roof. But we are trying to hold on to every last bit of hope and happiness. Our ridiculously amazing adaptive human abilities have helped us work around the pandemic and reinvent life in a way that today defines the “new normal”.
We’ve harnessed our strengths and pushed back to rediscover the meaning of work, family, friendships — LIFE! Just a glance back at what the last 7 months have been for us and reality hits you like WOW!
A lot has changed.
One would think that all this time, dealing with the pandemic, would’ve taught us patience, made us more resilient. Alas! We are exhausted. The virus looms over us like this masked threat and while we pretend to wade comfortably through the new normal, this threat continues to haunt us. We go about our lives taking strict precautions, thinking we’ve got this and then bam! Life changes in one second and you fall into this well that has a 1000 steps for you to climb before you’re back up.
Two weeks ago, this threat turned into reality for my family. We plunged into the nightmare called COVID-19 and we’re still swimming to shore. We’ll get there soon, I have no doubt, but the exhaustion is real.
As a rule, our family followed the strictest COVID protocols and seldom stepped out of the house. However, it only takes one wrong touch for this virus to become the biggest pain in your ass, if it wasn’t already. Worse even, when the virus catches hold of the most vulnerable people in our family and spares the rest of us. You want to jump on the frontline and say take me, leave them… but it obviously doesn’t work like that.
Frustration. Anxiety. Fear. Confusion. Anger. Helplessness. Uncertainty.
However prepared you might be to face the virus, however much you might have read up on it, whatever best medical advice you might have, the world could be sending you all its vibes to stays calm — but when COVID-19 comes home, you are scared. You feel an emotional pain that troubles you. But you react and respond. You do what’s needed to ensure your loved ones are taken care of, stable, well-medicated. Our health systems make us want to scream, but we fight.
And they isolate.
The disease ruthlessly separates you from your loved ones at a time when they need support. You want to be physically there with them, but you can’t. You leave them alone, because that’s the best thing you can do for them. You want to see them, but you can’t. You want to take care of them, but you can’t. It’s an isolating disease. And it would be unfair for anyone to expect you to not be affected by that. Strength is not defined by your ability to not shed a tear or feel pain, it’s demonstrated by your ability to shed that tear, but not give up; to feel that pain, but stand right back up and do what you need to do. Strength lies in your power to accept how low you’re feeling, embrace it and use that to fight back.
There are conflicting emotions that dominate my being today — a gushing sense of gratitude. Gratitude that all my loved ones are doing well and kicking COVID’s ass. Gratitude that everything is under control and we are swimming our way to the shore. Gratitude that fills me with hope and gives me strength; and a gripping sadness, the feeling of helplessness and frustration that I can’t be with my family despite being here for them; that we can’t sit together in the same room as they rest and recover.
On the eve of Diwali festivities today my family is spread across separate rooms, homes and the hospital. As I see the lights shine through my balcony, and look out with a sense of hope and a prayer of strength, a tear trickles down my face embodying my sadness. But the swift breeze has made me smile, with reassurance that this will pass, the family will be together soon and a couple of months down the line when we glance back at the year, reality will hit us again like WOW! A lot has changed. And we overcame!
Originally published at http://iknoorkaur.wordpress.com on November 12, 2020.