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Moving On

In the summer of 2020, I heard an interview with an expert on infectious disease and pandemics. In the interview, he warned that the acute phase of a pandemic usually lasts 18 months. Then it takes another 3-5 years for the recovery of mental health, the economy, and other long term effects. At the time, I was disheartened that we had at least another year to endure in the crisis phase, however it seemed reasonable that we would need years to recover from the pandemic.


As I type this in 2023, I feel the truth of the latter statement in my bones.

I’ve been fairly silent on this blog as of late because we have had a lot to deal with in the aftermath of the pandemic. I continue to struggle with low energy after having COVID almost a year ago. Reintegrating into school, work, and our social life, which were vibrant before the pandemic, has been a slow slog. I can also report that the current mental health crisis is alive and well at our house. Personally it took a long time to work through the anger and hurt I felt by those who did not think it important to protect families like ours from an illness that could have had dire consequences for my children.


All I can say is we are getting there. We are getting the help we need and learning to live lives that are forever changed.


Lately the prevalent feeling has been jealousy. The green-eyed monster often creeps into my mind, because we aren’t able to do things that many families can or we can’t do things in the same way. A “spontaneous” summer hike is a calculated event involving research on the length of trails, the terrain, accessibility, and the weather. Back to school plans include health plans, accommodations for PE class, emails to teachers, and estimations of how much walking their schedules require. What seems easy to other families is much more involved for us. And it can be exhausting.


Right now, I’m jealous because I realized that for many the 3-5 recovery years started a long time ago while ours has seemingly just begun. Some days, it feels like the world moved on without us, while we were still figuring out how to keep our kids healthy and safe. I realize that, in most cases, this wasn’t intentional. I don’t blame anyone for doing what they needed to do during the pandemic to survive. I really do get it and try not to take it personally.


Yet I still feel isolated, wishing that our participation in the world was much more effortless and carefree. For now I just remind myself to stay off of social media where families are living shiny, happy lives. I also try to remember that maybe those lives aren’t really all that shiny after all. Maybe they feel the same way that I do.


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