I wonder what my dad would think about the pandemic, quarantine, and how many loved ones are social distancing or spending time apart.
This is just one of several thoughts I’ve had wondering what my dad would have to say or what he would think about something going on in the world.
These internal questions started the day he died. Literally. I got the news he died when I left a movie theater. I got out of the movie and saw that I had a lot of missed calls and although I wasn’t sure what it was, I knew something was very wrong. I was in shock. When I got to my apartment I robotically threw things in a bag. I couldn’t tell you what I packed. When I got back to my childhood home I cried and hugged my mom and then I sat on the couch surrounded by my mom, a few of my aunts and uncles, and family friends and looked at the TV screen. The Chicago Cubs were playing in the World Series and they won. I wonder what my dad would think about the Cubs finally winning another World Series.
A few days after the Cubs won, Donald Trump was elected as president. I remember watching the polling results in the basement of my parent’s house, surrounded by my brother and my cousin. When we realized the outcome was going to be in Trump’s favor, I wondered what my dad would think about it.
I’ve had a lot of other questions or thoughts like this over the past four and a half years.
I wonder what my dad would think about me becoming a broadcaster. An introvert, who loves writing, is now on a team of people providing programming for a radio network.
I wonder what he would think about me finally starting a rough draft. He asked me several years ago when I was finally going to write a book, reminding me of my own wish to do that. I finally started it and am working through my first rough draft.
Grief isn’t just big anniversaries. It’s the small moments, questions, and thoughts that serve as a reminder that you can’t ask the person you’re missing.
I love the start of a new year— the feelings of new beginnings and endless possibilities. More specifically, I love planning for a new year.
I love a fresh planner and mapping out events, to-do lists, and goals. But something happens around March and April and I start filling out my planner less. By October, I typically am not filling out the planner at all anymore because I’m either busy or less motivated to continue filling it out.
That changed this year with a bullet journal. I filled out nearly 200 pages of a blank journal (except for the bullets) between January and December. So, what changed and how was I able to stick with it?
I felt organized. I was able to keep track of things I needed to do during a week and each month I tracked goals and dates I needed to remember. I created spreads for work events where I could track my schedule of interviews.
I wrote about things that happened throughout the year— I added one photo for each month of the year to show a favorite memory. I added a spread about 20 things I did in 2020 and then a list of some of my favorite things that happened including traveling to Florida, San Antonia, DC, and South Carolina; visiting family; a weekend getaway with family in Gatlinburg; and celebrating my cousin’s bachelorette and wedding shower.
Some of my other favorite parts of my bullet journal were a bookcase where I kept track of what I read during the year and a book bracket to decide my favorite book of each month before picking one favorite for the entire year. I also tracked my mood, habits, and a highlight for every day. This was a cool way to look back and see how I was feeling, what I was thinking, and what habits I kept up.
I already started a new bullet journal for 2021. I added another bookcase and book tracker, some lists, and a spread for the month of January. I’m looking forward to keeping the bullet journal going into the new year.
After weeks of social distancing, quarantining, staying home as much as possible, an overload of information on social media, and daily news briefings, it’s not uncommon to feel tired, anxious, restless, and just plain unsure.
As a journalist, I’ve been getting weary of writing COVID-19 stories at times. Brene Brown recently said that everyone is handling the pandemic in different ways, but collectively, people are tired— physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted.
In challenging times, I am reminded of the quote by Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” It’s a quote that still resonates today.
I’ve been able to look for the helpers in my job and report about some of the things that people are doing to help others during the pandemic. Many people are making face masks for health care workers and donating hospital gowns or other protective gear to nursing homes and others have donated food and time to serve community members.
There are endless stories of people helping others and I’m choosing to focus on that and look for ways that I can help when the weariness kicks in.
How are you doing? what helpers have you seen during the pandemic?