Our world is in a place we have never known. I have had conversations with many friends, colleagues, clients, and fellow small business owners about the current state of affairs. We have all lost sleep. We have worried that we might have to close our doors, face losing our jobs, or worse, our loved ones.
As a business professional, it is hard for me to share personal experiences on a public platform, but how do we move forward if we don’t acknowledge our humanness?
I have an older sister – the eldest of the family. Her name is Brooke. My family has not seen her in over 60 days, although she essentially lives up the street. She is beautiful, funny and the heart of our family. She is also developmentally disabled. She lives in an adult, assisted living home with 7 other roommates. Three of them contracted COVID, one of them passed away. The house has closed off all physical contact with the residence until they have all been tested and state restrictions have been lifted. The time away has been so difficult – especially for my parents who just want to hug her and see/feel/know she is okay.
I have a wonderful father who was diagnosed with a blood cancer 2 years ago. It is not curable. Last year he underwent a stem cell transplant to help keep the cancer at bay for as long as possible. His compromised immune system has made him susceptible to the severe effects of COVID. I had not hugged him for almost 60 days – a precaution I knew I would ultimately regret. When I finally broke my own rules, the first hug was quick but so needed.
I have a son who is 5 years old. An only child – something that I have a hard time understanding as I was one of 4. He has been cooped up, out of school and experiencing changes of his own under lock down. I often look into his eyes and wonder if he sees this too. Does he feel the weight of the world? Does he notice the stress in my voice, the anguish on my face? How will he learn about this as he grows older?
Working in the live events industry has meant a life of networking, travel, and face to face conversation. It has meant a lot of hugs, handshakes, and high fives. Overnight, that was gone. And I didn’t realize how much it was a part of my life until now.
We are experiencing a type of psychological warfare. We have been secluded from family, friends, our neighbors, and acquaintances. We have lacked physical contact and have feared that having even the slightest amount might land us in the hospital – or worse.
When we have been able to go out, we wear masks and can only express our smiles and sincerities through our eyes, hoping others will notice. We have been secluded from humanity.
As the world started to open back up, I thought we finally might be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Businesses were opening, nursing homes were allowing social distancing visits, people were getting back to work.
And then, George Floyd was murdered.
His death, the peak of the pain that has clouded our nation reached, hit me so profoundly. A loss mourned differently by everyone but mourned non the less. I stood in the shower and cried.
There are so many things I could say but I have no answers. I’m not going to lie and tell you I know what to do to fix this or how we “get better”. I do not know where we go from here. But I do believe that we are able to heal as a nation. And I intend to be a part of that healing process.
With that, please hear me when I say that I am here for you. We need each other, always have, it’s just more clear now than ever before.