My friends tell me that I am one of the strongest women that they’ve known! Yet, 2020 tested me to my extreme limits in so many ways! This was the most challenging year of my life that I recall. And, I should add that my life, although very blessed, has been a difficult one by many standards. Regardless of all that happened I found this to be a year of reflections and empathy!
I begun the year stressed to the limits of insanity! At work front, I was managing the Digital Accessibility Program at Sabre and we were reaching the ultimate milestone of having an executive’s endorsement, which needed a great deal of effort on my part. At home, I had been a caregiver to my husband, David, who was suffering from aftereffects of multiple strokes, as well as dementia. This, also, made me the head of the household at all fronts. We had daytime caregivers while I was at work. That topic deserves several blogs on its own. So, I won’t get into it here except that I had my hands full with them as well!
The COVID-19 lockdown was a blessing for me (forgive me for putting it this way) since I got to rest a little when I would’ve been on the road. I also had to stop our daytime care giving services. Somehow, I was able to balance work and caring well since the shutdown. It also became was a period when David and I were able to reconnect and spend quality time together! I can’t express enough the value of those few weeks for me! Precious memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Late March, I decided to leave my job and become a fulltime caregiver to David. Unfortunately, my departing from my position took lover a month due to the need for knowledge transfer. I did not know that my David did not have that much time to wait! I lost David, the love of my life and my soulmate on April! 15.
This year had already begun with the loss of three friends and associates. A week after David’s passing, I also lost a mother-figure of 43 years! And, the deaths in my church community kept adding up to the point that now I don’t even want to open an email from my church with the fear of reading about another death. I am saturated with grief!
This is when my empathy for those who have lost loved ones grew even deeper for me. I truly feel the pain that the family members experience. It doesn’t matter whether the death was caused by COVID-19, an illness, or senseless gunshots! I feel your pain and I truly feel sad for anyone minimizing such pain for political reasons.
Also having been in a vulnerable situation of not having a job or enough income in the past, I empathize with the anxiety for those who are in similar situations now. My heart breaks every time I see the images of rows and rows of cars waiting for a share at food pantries. It’s a cliché to say these are hard times. But they are…in the most unprecedented ways. The way I see it, the problem is not just an unknown disease, hardships caused due to environmental disasters, or a political situation. The problem is that they all have been intertwined in the worst way in 2020!
During my most stressed times, I would find myself losing ground and perspective of my life and the happenings around me. So, they would stress me further. I found myself having to ground myself and my emotions over and over. My way of doing that was to listen to Eckart Tolley’s book, The Power of Now. And, to make sure that I meditated well on daily basis. What blessings have these been to me. These practices helped me clear my heart of anger and frustrations, and helped me see things clearly.
So, my message to you is to please, please, stay in touch with the core of yourself! It is so easy to get caught up with all the fears and angers around us. Don’t accept them from anyone! Let the good inside you to shine through and overshadow any negativity that is influencing you. Even if you disagree with someone, respect the other person and choose to see the good in them, and speak of love and not hate! Speak with love. You will be surprised to find out how liberating this mindset can be! I assure you that this is not just empty words. My best friend and I could not be any further apart on certain topics, most obvious one being politics! Yet we love each other and respect each other’s points of view. We choose to see the humanity of the other, first. We touch sensitive topics every now-and-then. But, agree to disagree respectfully and move on. We are not an exception either. I have seen that amongst other friends and colleagues as well.
I hope that you will find your path to connecting with the better angels in you on regular basis and allow empathy for all grow within you.
I wish everyone a new year full of joy, good health, and empathy!