Yep - I am going to write about COVID. Eek. Haven't touched the topic since February 2021 when it was FAR less divisive. But hell, here we go.
I'm not going to debate vaccines, masks or lockdowns. Not my intent here. I read a lot. Like ALOT. Books, articles, studies. I listen a lot - news, podcasts, you name it. I am knowledge junkie. I love to learn and educate myself. I am particularly obsessed with nutrition, health, and how our bodies function and heal. I am not an idiot but I am also not an expert. Just well informed on certain topics.
I came across an article yesterday that The Washington Post published that left me unsettled. It was about everyone, despite following the rules, are still getting COVID. The hot button? The shame they feel. A woman admitted she was shocked when she tested positive and despite doing all the right things she got it. She felt embarrassed and upset that she was causing her family stress.
She ADMITTED..... "I'm realizing how much judgement I was secretly harboring against people who got it before."
First things first - KUDOS for the self awareness. We all see things differently when we are on the other side and we realize we make some mistakes. Acknowledging it and learning from it is what is most important. That's growth baby!
This idea that if you got it you MUST have done something wrong stirs all kinds of emotions - guilt, shame, regret. The reality in this current environment..... ANYONE can get it. No one gets a free pass.
The shame is what struck a chord with me. I know this shame because we felt it back in April when my daughter got it. We were living our lives like there was a pandemic and taking precautions but we were not locked in the house wrapped in plastic wrap either. We toed the line between normalcy and cautious. But she got it. She was sick for 4-5 days and we moved on. But society did not and we were marked in some way. You have to let friends and family know, schools have to know...... so people know, right? The response was strange and unexpected. Other children questioned my daughter, did you test negative yet? Are your parents vaccinated? It was unreal. It was isolating for all of us and VERY confusing for my 14 year old. We found ourselves explaining the medical advice our doctor gave us and almost justifying it. How long do we all stay locked up until people are comfortable despite her being fully recovered? It was odd. Unchartered territory for sure.
Fast forward. The rest of us got COVID right before Christmas. I recall that feeling of shame sinking in again and literally started having an internal discussion in my head like... oh hell no. We did our best and followed the guidance with common sense. However, it's a virus. We can't control it, we don't even understand it. Despite being two years in you have to dig to find credible resources and data on how it behaves, how it effects you, and what you need to do. Oy vey. A subject for another day.
We kind of obsessed in April and last month with trying to figure the "how." How did we pick it up? Where did we go? When did we notice symptoms? It was overthinking at it's finest when at the end of the day that is not the point. We got it. We got sick. We recovered. Some people didn't and don't and that is heart breaking. Regardless, it is very isolating and lonely when it happens. I am grateful we were all together as a family and made the most of the downtime and enjoyed our Christmas. I can't imagine what it is like for someone who is living alone, in a hospital or a nursing home. It gives me a heavy heart, it feels unimaginable BUT it is reality.
So my point today? Have some grace. Show some kindness. Reach out to friends and family. Send a text or email, call and check in. Send groceries or take out. Send flowers. Reccomend a show to binge watch! Make them feel less alone. Any gesture is thrilling when you are stuck at home sick. Trust me. When they recover and and leave the house, welcome them back! If you have not had it yet, think about how you would want to be treated if you did. It's the golden rule!
We live in a very divisive society and it's tearing us apart. As the virus spreads let's all do ourselves a favor and in a weird way, embrace the current state for what it is? It's here and we can't make it go away with a magic wand. If you haven't had it, you very likely could get it. You do you, and mange it your way for you and your family stay safe and healthy as best you can. I completely understand that the information and messaging out there is often confusing and scary at times so we all have different levels of comfort and respect for the "pandemic." Whatever choices YOU are making to navigate your way through this is YOUR choice. Your "right way" may not be the same "right way" for someone else. The beauty of it all is we each have the ability make our own choices so can we CHOOSE to practice kindness and compassion through this, am I right? It matters. It really matters!!!