One year ago, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. It’s also when my state closed the schools and asked us to turn our lives upside down, for an unknown length. A lot changed in an instant.
It’s been a vague kind of trauma, that effects us in some invisible ways (as well as visible ways).
We’ve all been through a lot of change to say the least. Have you honored all you’ve been through and what you’ve learned? In your personal life, and in your work life? In your heart?
Maybe this anniversary is a good moment to pause, to look back, see where you are now, and to look forward with fresh and wiser eyes. I invite us all to bring a sense of grace and acceptance of all feelings that might be naturally arising at this time.
I want to honor you for your perseverance and all the ways you’ve worked hard to protect others. That means a lot to me. Thank you.
I notice a lot of uneasy feelings in those around me, perhaps in that way a trauma anniversary can creep up on us.
I wrote a quick poem, below, to attempt to capture this moment, with this intention:
May we find some gentleness for whatever feelings arise, and may we honor ourselves and each other for our perseverance. We are stronger than we knew.
It’s Been a Year
They asked us to just stop everything on a dime.
That surreal feeling of rapid change. And more change.
Something strange and surprising each week.
Huh? What? That too?
How much longer?
That turning point was actually a trauma and we didn’t quite get it.
An invisible train went off the rails and crashed into our lives.
It landed on us all, in some way or another.
A poignant form of global connection.
A vague trauma with no clear end. So many ripples.
It’s hard on our psyches.
And on those around us too.
For some, total overwhelm. Too much work. Too much loss.
For some, too many people in the house.
While for others, the starkness of isolation.
Remember when you finally had a good laugh and it came out as tears?
Remember when you yelled at the TV… a lot of times?
We’ve made it this far.
We’re stronger and more resilient in many ways.
So much to be grateful for.
And yet, this invisible being is still here too.
We have learned to eat out of the same bowl with it.
But it’s still weird. Or worse.
Some people are feeling off as the anniversary quietly amplifies our losses.
This long journey effects us inside, more than we realize.
Have you had losses and sorrows? Me too.
Have you had some positive things you’re grateful for? Me too.
Some lessons learned about what you’ll do differently now? Me too.
Let’s honor them all.
All feelings are welcome. In small doses if needed.
For the introverts who have loved the extra time at home.
For the introverts who now have no alone time at home.
For the extroverts so hungry for more connection.
Let’s honor our new levels of awareness about what we need.
For the nurse’s aide who couldn’t see her children for a month, to keep them protected,
it’s especially for you that I keep up the work.
If you’ve used some time to rest, amen, so needed.
If you’ve used some time to reconsider what matters, thank yourself.
If you’ve used some time to get involved in your community, to learn, to grow, thank you.
For today, at this anniversary…
Let’s be gentle with ourselves.
Whatever moodiness, clumsiness, foggy brain, anger, confusion, impatience, or any kind of feeling, it’s normal.
It means you’re human. Anniversaries are like this. Trauma is like this.
A moment to pause, to honor, to cry, to curse 2020, or whatever feels right.
Our bodies know what they need,
if we will just listen.
Reminding myself too.
For me, a walk outside among the trees is my balm today.
I’ll gather with neighbors outside in the spring air, and give thanks to them and these quiet calming trees that have held us each day of this rocky year.
Maybe we can finally retire the word unprecedented.
Change is precedented.
The wise old trees know about change, and they are glad we are understanding better.