One year ago

It’s so hard to believe we have been at this pandemic for a whole year. One whole year of a strange unsureness, of being in our homes more, of not seeing people without masks, of separate togetherness times on Zoom.

It could seem strange to say good job for living through a difficult time when so many have not, but it’s important to recognize your strength. So…Congratulations for your strength, for your bravery, for your resilience. I am saying that sincerely. This has not been an easy year.

I remember about a year ago, just before the pandemic shut everything down, I went to the opening of a new re-modeled hip warehouse food court with a bunch of restaurants inside. It was the place to be at that moment in the city. And there were all kinds of people packed in there, waiting in the lines, saying hello, chattering with each other. I saw a couple of people I knew, waved to them from a distance. I remember going in there, saying to myself, if anyone coughs or sneezes, don’t lean into them.

How little I understood at the time of what this virus is. I had heard it was dangerous. I had heard it was coming for us, but I really didn’t understand how much it would impact my daily life. All of our lives.

In today’s post, I’d like to take time to remember, be grateful, to grieve, and to look toward the future. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but I feel hopeful. I see there is a path of hope ahead of us.

In the U. S. alone we have lost over 535,000 people. In the world, we have lost more than 2.6 million people. This is something to grieve.

Many more people have had COVID than have died, some of them walking away fine and some with long term complications. Whether you are someone who had COVID and is doing okay or continuing to have a hard time or someone who has lost a loved one to COVID or even from something else during this past year, or someone who has been through other hardships during this time, or someone who has been okay, but under the pressures of life in a pandemic, I’d like us to write.

Let’s write with balance in mind- a balance of grieving and gratefulness. If we get stuck in the grieving, sometimes it’s hard to see the hope we have or can have. If we only have hope, we deny the sadness that has been a part of this past year.

People sometimes think therapists don’t have or shouldn’t have problems. That’s not true, of course, and it certainly isn’t true in a pandemic. We are all in this storm. We may be in different boats, but the storm is raging still. There is hope and we see the storm subsiding, but a lot has been lost. What have you lost? And what are you thankful for?

WRITE

I invite you to write first something that you are sad about and next to write something you are grateful for. That might be your own health, a new kitten, a hike outdoors, a loved one, rain. Right now, what are you sad about from this past year, what are you thankful for? This could be a journal entry, a poem, a list, but create a balance of the sad and the grateful.

Bonus Writing: What were you doing last year around this time? What was the last social thing you did before the lockdown? Write about it. You can begin however you want or just start with: Before the lockdown…

Our feelings are so normal. It’s important for us to be able to identify them and express them. If you feel sad, that’s okay. If you feel grateful or happy or joyful, great! Definitely lean into that. All of our feelings are important. It’s also important that we keep them balanced so we are not soooooooo sad that we can’t handle sadness. Keep it balanced.

I am grateful to you for reading this and for your writing and exploring self-care through writing. If you would like to write with us every week, please sign up for the blog.

Thank you.

Take care. Be well.

Best,

Liza Wolff-Francis

Published by lizawolfffrancis

Liza Wolff-Francis is a poet and writer with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Goddard College who is proud to have served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee. She was co-director for the 2014 Austin International Poetry Festival and a member of the 2008 Albuquerque Poetry Slam Team. She has an ekphrastic poem posted in Austin’s Blanton Art Museum by El Anatsui’s sculpture “Seepage” and her work has most recently appeared in Steam Ticket, eMerge, Minute Magazine, Weaving the Terrain: 100 Word Southwestern Poems, Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems, Poetic Routes, Poetry Pacific, Edge, and on various blogs. She has a chapbook out called Language of Crossing (2015, Swimming with Elephant Publications), which is a collection of poems about the Mexico- U.S. border. She loves breakfast food, popcorn and dark chocolate.

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