Community//

Oh, What A Year!

I kept listening to others complain about how isolating and scary this time was for them and their families. Again, I was not feeling it. Two weeks in an epiphany hit me.

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Based on this title you are probably thinking I am going to write about 2020. Wrong!  

At the beginning of the pandemic, I kept reading stories of people stifled by the stay-at-home orders. The negativity was hard to bear. Especially since I had the opposite effect. I could not understand why. In fact, I felt myself relax a bit and settle in with my family at home. 

I was concerned along with everyone else and I tried to keep up with the updates without being consumed by information overload.  I couldn’t see family members which was difficult but thought it was only temporary.  I was sad watching the death rates rise but was optimistic things would turn around. 

 My pre-pandemic life was hectic. The first week of March I spent a few days in Washington, DC co-presenting at the Administration for Community Living Traumatic Brain Injury Stakeholders Day. This was followed by a wonderful dinner along with a group of people I have been working with. Our work is done remotely, so it was so nice to meet them in person and get to know each. other a bit.  A night at a nearby hotel was followed by Brain Injury Awareness Day on Capitol Hill, always a magnificent event. It is an all-day event meeting new people, reconnecting with those I have not seen in a while, listening to presentations, and making congressional visits. 

Rest is called for once I arrive home. In addition to all of this I orchestrate my girls’ social lives and drive them to and from certain activities. When the stay-at-home orders went into place for us on March 12th, it was a nice reprieve from all this driving. I was able to sit back and relax. 

I kept listening to others complain about how isolating and scary this time was for them and their families. Again, I was not feeling it. Two weeks in an epiphany hit me. 

I had already experienced my own crisis 19 years agoIt was isolating, terrifying, life threatening, and unprecedented but I survivedIn fact, my whole family survived. 

The first six months of 2001 started out with such hope and enthusiasm. We were in the process of building a new home and getting our current home ready for sale before our oldest daughter started kindergarten.  In August I suffe. a miscarriage.  It was devastatin. ut we recovered.   

Our move was delayed due to construction issues, but we were able to stay in our current home while waiting. r our new home to be completed.   Our eldest daughter had a great transition to kindergarten, and we were looking forward to the first da. f preschool for her younger sister.  Unfortunately, he. irst day was on September 11, 2001.  Once hearing what was happening in New York, Virginia, and Penns. ania I rushed to pick her up early.  We were in shock and mour. g along with the rest of the world.   

We finally moved the first week of November and while still unpacking my husband came home and informed me, he had been laid off from. s job.  This was a complete shock to bo. of us.  We now worried how we were going to make mortgage payments on our new . e.  We both kept shaking our heads in disbelief wondering when we would wake up from this nightmare. 

If 2001 had ended after these events I would not have chalked it up as the worst year, but we still had one more tragic incident that upended our lives forever. . daughters and I were involved in a horrific car accident. The youngest was code blue at the scene and the rescue workers did not think she would survive the first ambulance ride. She did! We endured her traumatic brain injury, my brain injury, and all the emotional baggage that came with it. Inordinate amounts of time were spent isolated at the hospital worried if she would survive.  

Once survival was known the marathon of getting her rehabilitated and the ensuing years of various therapies and special education services was never ending. In fact, it is still ongoing 19 years post-accident. Our family had to adjust to this “new normal.” Yet, there was not anything normal about it. We continually recalibrate. I look back in disbelief as I remember comments made to us during her rehabilitation such as, “I am so glad things worked out..”  Our lives were changed forever, and they will never be the sam.   

But we did survive and came out stronger in the end. So, I cannot complain about how awful 2020 has been. Our worst year already passed, and we survived. I do not want to take away from all the pain and suffering so many have experienced this past year. It is devastating. Losing a loved one to this awful virus is unimaginable. I look forward to happier times in 2021 just as I did at the end of 2001. 

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