Dear fellow human,
Last night was tough, I found myself sitting in the stairwell crying quietly. I didn’t want my children to see me and wonder if my hope is dwindling, because it is not. I cried because I know that we have a long road ahead of us, and the release is necessary. I then prayed. I prayed hard. I imagine that in times like these most people are praying. We are praying for the health and safety of our parents and grandparents. We are praying for the people who are most vulnerable, for our children and for ourselves. We pray for our parnassah and to stay afloat. We pray to Gd to please watch over us. Hashem please keep us unified, even while we must remain physically apart. Let the earth be our temple; instead of 10 men in a shul, millions of souls gather and a tidal wave of tears merge; prayers from all over the globe. Please hear us, we are all trying to withstand and remain hopeful. Our false sense of security has been disrupted; this crown-shaped virus has conquered our daily rituals and rhythms, so many people have died and only Gd knows why.
How does a person deal with our new reality? Lets face it – new as it is, isolation and social distancing causes a sense of loss and grief. The fact that most of us know that we are being put in time out for our own good only tips the scale just enough for us to keep it together.
At first I felt denial. I couldn’t fathom this virus reaching the rest of the world. But it has. I want to say that I’m tough, but I am not. I want to be the rock for my kids, but I have had to lean on them for comfort as well. The mornings are easiest. I bring down the twins to feed them, in general they wake before our other four children. My husband gets his tea, kisses me, and heads into our home office for work. I’m grateful everyday that his job allows him to work from home in a time where so many cannot. Our other kids wake one after the other. Together we spend the day cleaning, cooking, attempting school work and hanging out. It’s non stop, but whenever I have a minute to think, it creeps back in…there is a deadly virus barrelling it’s way through our towns, cities and countries. I want to hug my parents, they are close in distance and yet they have never felt so far away. I want to spend time with my siblings and friends, to laugh and to cry with them. What’s worse is worrying about how my children are coping. Just last week my nine year old looked at me and said “I feel like this is the end of the world” and it crushed me. I hugged her and reassured that it is not, I told her that one day this will be a distant memory. I reminded her that we are blessed to have each other and to try and focus on that instead.
I fought through severe postnatal depression after the birth of my twins. For those who are like me; for those of you who have suffered from depression in the past this can be even more destabilizing and our prayers will reflect that. In general, I take steps to protect myself from a depressive symptomatic rebirth. I make sure I sleep well, I take vitamins, I dance in my living room, I keep the people that I love close by and I make the time to see them no matter how busy my six amazing children keep me. Above all, I try not to stay isolated for too long. Now, many of my rules for well being have to be modified. Like many others – I am not sleeping well and we are isolated from the world. So for now, I am taking it one hour at a time. I will continue to smile even when I’m down, hug my children till they push me off of them, I will retain hope for better days and try to accept our new existence for the time being.
I follow the the 100 meter rule, I know it is in place to keep us safe. For now, the 100 meter rule is my knight in shining armor. I try not to look at my phone when I go for walks. I soak up the humanity, I watch and listen. I hear the neighbors across from us playing music in their yard. I see an elderly couple, medical masks tightly in place walking up and down their driveway for exercise. I hear the neighbors playing ping pong with their kids and the smell of barbecues fill the air in the evenings. Life is still going on all around us. When I go back inside I hang on to these images and sounds. They are the armor for my mind when I read the news and statistics.
I am not a doctor, I am not a nurse, I am not a scientist. I am not qualified to give advice about how to survive this. So I will not. What I am is a mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, and cousin.
What I will do is say this:
Fellow human – I love you, I am praying for you, and you are not alone. When this passes over we will be forever changed, we now know for certain how important and powerful human connection is. We will hug again. We will sing at brit milas and we will dance at weddings. We will celebrate birthdays together as well as comfort loved ones while they sit shiva. So hold on tight, and be kind to each other.
Just another human