The upheaval that has been our lives for the past few weeks has, I’m sure, made us all feel restless and anxious. Everything we thought we knew about our homes, our work, our families and ourselves is being tested by having to face either daily changes or day to day sameness. There is also the grey cloud of the unknown that just hangs over everything like a dense fog. The unknowns of if we are doing enough to stay safe, if we are going to make it another week, or if we will ever get back to something that seems “normal” again are always present.
The answer to the last question is as easy as it is hard to take. We won’t. The coronavirus pandemic has made its indelible mark on all of us – those of us who’ve had it, who’ve watched love ones suffer through it, who may have lost someone to it. Those of us who were laid off and had to struggle financially to make ends meet. Those who worked every day trying to make sure other people were safe and healthy and whole, putting themselves at risk. The virus has and will leave its scars. We will not go back to “normal.” There’s no just waking up one day and *poof* the monster is gone, and all is well. No, we will go on to a time and place that is changed forever.
Yet, while we long for the good ol’ days, there is so much good happening through these anxious times. I have seen such good coming from people who, even in their isolation, have found ways to bind together and show solidarity. For instance, did you know that across our country, people are going outside and howling at the moon every night at 8pm? This was started as a show of support for the nurses, doctors and emergency service workers in New York and has spread nationwide. Maybe it’s time to start up a howling in your neighborhood!
Also, nationwide, people have been decorating their windows with hearts. Families and singles are cutting out paper hearts and putting them in their windows showing their love for their community and the workers who are out there every day. Some people are creating chalk drawings of hope and support on their sidewalks and driveways.
Locally, people are ordering lunch or dinner from small businesses and using their curbside pick-up to help these important contributors to our community stay afloat in these uncertain times. Many people have contributed to the restaurants’ personal Go Fund Me accounts which are accepting donations to give to their line staff.
Local corporations have put their own business on hold to begin manufacturing much needed medical equipment like masks, gowns and even respirators. Others have made incredible donations to local food banks to help keep our community fed. And right here at KHDS, our staff has worked diligently, though differently, to make sure that our consumers, those people in need of mental health or substance abuse services, crisis intervention, care management, payee representation, housing, food and shelter, victim rights, or support, have done so each and every day. We may have had to change the way we can serve people for this short time but we will never change the quality of the care and dignity we afford those we serve.
So, while we may struggle with the knowledge that we can’t go back again, we must take pride in knowing that we are part of the larger solution. Yes, when we come back together we will all have the scar of living through the coronavirus pandemic but we will come through because we are stronger together. We are KHDS Strong!