A Wretched Pandemic of a Year

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I started this as a FB post, but then realized it was way too long. It’s also been way too long since I’ve updated my blog, so here you go:

One year ago today, was our last full day at the beach. It was also the day my hubby started texting me that he was losing gigs left and right. The amount of money in gigs lost was insane. I was struggling to wrap my head around it. The tears fell on and off all day long. One of my besties made a Walmart run and reported back there was no TP on any of the shelves. Text messages from my husband continued to roll in. Texts from other friends and posts on FB sent me over the edge. There, in one of my favorite places, I had a full blown panic attack. I couldn’t believe it, any of it. My other bestie wisely snuck me out of the condo before the kids could see me. We took a walk to give me a chance to calm down.

The next morning we packed up the van and headed back to TN. Based on information we received I decided we needed to stop at the Walmart in my hometown of Ozark, AL. I was sure my hometown wouldn’t let me down on this mission. I was almost in tears to see the shelves so empty. We then continued our trek home and stopped at the Dollar General in Brundidge, AL. There were 2 packs of TP left. I took one and my bestie took the other. We made it home and then the nightmare really began. Not only had our sweet just taken a hit due to a tornado, we were now facing a pandemic. Because we ate down our fridge and pantry before this trip, we desperately needed food. I made stops at 4 different stores and circled back to our Kroger and it was awful. I watched a woman clear and entire box of pizzas into her cart. She had also done this with multiple other items and her cart was over flowing. I was just trying to get the basics. At that point all I wanted was a single back of frozen chicken breasts and the freezer section was pretty well bare. I had a pretty ugly meltdown there in the frozen section. I wanted to scream at the people with overflowing buggies. I wanted them to share what they had, so I could get food for my family. Like so many other families, we settled for what we could find.

I shared my family snuck out of town for a few days this week. Saturday night I fought off a panic attack. I wanted to go to Kroger and buy all. the. things. I was terrified to go out of town and not make sure we were stocked. Honestly, I have done my best to keep us stocked. Sunday afternoon, I picked up a pack of TP and a pack of paper towels. I picked up chicken strips, popcorn chicken, chips and some snacks, a few other smaller things on top of what we needed for the trip. In the back of my mind I “knew” I could come home and have what we needed to make meals through the first part the upcoming week, but I was so scared to not have a little extra at the house.

Honestly, I don’t know if the fear or anxiety caused by empty shelves will ever allow me to go on a trip and not be concerned. I have talked to several others who share the same fear. It’s crazy that one year in a pandemic affected us on so many levels. I don’t share this for sympathy. I share this to let you know that you are NOT alone in your fears or anxiety. Yes, I am dealing with the anxiety with a professional. If you are getting ready to head out of town pick up what you need keep your anxiety as low as possible. If an extra pack of TP, paper towels, a large jar of PB, jelly, chips, crackers or even Chef-Boy-Ardee make you feel better, than do it. Your piece of mind is worth it.

We have survived a year of pandemic. We have survived a year of several styles of schooling. We have gone long periods of time without hugging our loved ones. We have been scared. We have cried an ocean of tears. We have struggled with anxiety. We have watched our kids deal with big emotions. We have felt lost and even helpless as how to help them. We have said goodbye to friends and loved ones due to Covid and not been able to attend their funerals. We have yelled and screamed at the Lord and questioned where He has been. (Just me? Ok). In this day and age this all seems impossible. It’s almost like we have been living more in the 1800s than our current time.

We are sick of wearing masks. We are hoping and praying the vaccine will allow us to return to some semblance of normalcy. We are hoping and praying to return to large gatherings (maybe?) and to have our families together again. Our sweet town is still rebuilding from the tornado. I would be remiss not to mention we also survived a dereche in May, which caused almost as much damage as the tornado. There is not a place in town where you can’t see some remnant of the tornado/ dereche.  I posted a week or so ago on FB about how disheartening it was to see fences going up around our church and know that we are finally going to get to start rebuilding. Yet, as I turned to the other side of our church, an elementary school and middle school are still in ruins and there is not a definite timeframe in which those schools will be rebuilt.

There are so many huge feelings around all of this. I am still struggling to wrap my head around all of the events. Again, I know I am far from the only one struggling with these feelings. Our kids will continue to struggle. Honestly, I will never make light of PTSD and as I look at people around me, I see it. Our kids freak out whenever there is even the suggestion of bad weather. When the rain comes down in torrential downpour, the kids are in our room. So many kids now use the term “safe place.” It has absolutely nothing to do with emotions, but everything to do with physical safety. It’s hard to hear and watch.

I have no clue as to how we will move forward and heal from the past year, but I do know I am grateful for my tribe. We survived because we clung to our faith and to each other. There is no way to heal, if we try to do this by ourselves. Seeking out a therapist and/ or taking meds is OK!!!! There is ZERO shame with either. I am sure there will be several more posts as I attempt to process this past year. Honestly, I don’t see any of us “getting over” this past year any time soon. Please know I love y’all and have a shoulder to cry on and ears to listen, if you need a safe place to process.