Moving forward when the world falls backwards

Woman with facemask under Mask Up sign
Rows of empty airplane seats
Times Square, New York City at dusk
Woman in mask in front of public garden
Woman looking at white government building

Already in the second year an unexpected widowhood, navigating life forward has been expectedly gut-wrenching. 2020 blew up everyone’s definition of challenging. It was a year that saw the further emotional erosion of personal security as a covid-19 quickly took hold of the world, job loss, and political strife escalated beyond one could imagine. I happened to be on vacation in New York City the second week of March when covid was quickly showing what trouble we were all in for. The planes there and back held fewer people from JFK to LAX on a jumbo jet. I was one of eight people on the flight with the back eleven rows to myself. Every attraction we visited including the NYC Public Library and planned MET Opera closed within a day of visiting. Times Square started out as before with crowds of people. Each day that week saw a least 15% attendance drop. What was going on? We were scared.

Covid not only changed how and where we work (if one still had a job, which I ended up not having), it exacerbated an already split political discord of the country. Behind scared, feeling out of control, and very few feeling as if they were being heard or helped created a tinderbox of emotions and actions. Never did I expect to be alive to see the stress, fear, and level of uncertainty 2020 has shown.

As a new widow, I face all of this alone. When a partner dies, it is not easy to sustain a voice of the pain of loss or fear of the future in “normal”

times. What is normal anymore? All bearings are lost. Sure, there are supportive people, but they understandable move on more quickly. Pile on the many pandemic of virus and political strife that cause one to retract more into a shell (home or self) more than previously known...well, trying to not drown in it all, sadly, is the only positive.

Holding on to the common thread human threads that make us a social group has never been more challenging, but it is still there. One has to work harder to keep moving forward, personally and as a community, but it has never been more important to our survival. Never has adapting to change as a top life skill been more vital to one’s existence and certainly required to attempt to progress and keep moving forward. My attempts now to rise above survival is taking baby steps forward into living again.