It was a year ago this week that the Covid-19 virus was declared a pandemic—and our lives as we knew them changed dramatically. We grieve the lives lost to the virus. We remember their families, whose lives are never the same. And we take time to remember the other losses of the year—loss of employment, time in school, seeing friends and family, and feeling like life is “normal,” not altered by masks, social distancing, and other Covid precautions.
A sign of a healthy grieving process is when we can see how we’ve been resilient—when we can look at how the loss might make us or our lives better. When we’re able to step out of our pain and recognize the ways we’ve grown, how life has been changed but we’ve continued on with courage, hope, and even joy, we’re able to find deeper healing from our grief. To that end, the Verily team wanted to kick off a conversation reflecting on our own resilience this year—what processes helped us find it and how we’re proud about the ways we displayed it.
As social distancing and masking extended into late spring and early summer, I became fearful about how I was able or not able to live my values—like spending time with friends and family, going to church, and supporting my community. Living alone and not seeing some friends because of differing comfort levels was especially difficult. Looking back on this year though, I’ve seen how a few of my friends and I have become closer because we’ve talked on the phone more than we ever would have met up in person. Additionally, I’ve made some new friends, as I discovered acquaintances who were in similar positions as me—comfortable with meeting up in various settings to make sure our mental health was taken care of through connection to others. My fear about losing touch with friends wasn’t unfounded, but by speaking it out loud to others around me, we found creative solutions to make sure our relationships weren’t lost to Covid, too.
—Meg McDonnell, Editor in Chief
Last spring, my husband and I were hoping to make a long-anticipated move to be closer to my parents and siblings. When the pandemic began, those plans, like so many others, came to a screeching halt. We waited, and the wait was painful. But in that waiting, I learned to find ways to embrace what was—not just what I hoped would be. We redecorated our living room, took a lot of trips to a nearby state park, and got to know our neighbors, learning to find a sense of home even as we were yearning to leave. Our big move finally happened, but even in our new town, there’s still a lot of waiting: waiting for big family dinners until after we’ve all been vaccinated, waiting to go to explore local museums and libraries, waiting for life not to feel like one big risk assessment. But looking back on it all, I see that the waiting has helped me grow in patience, in creativity (particularly with a preschooler and a toddler at home), and in hope. As my mom keeps reminding me, “We just need to hang on a little bit longer.”
— Kellie Moore, Verily Yours Editor
This year, I’ve learned how to be proactive about seeking joy. Previously, it was easy to look at my calendar and point out things I was looking forward to—the usual visits with friends, family birthdays, occasional travel. In the face of a calendar wiped clean, however, I had to manufacture my own things to get excited about: making pizza from scratch with my preschooler, reading novel after novel, taking a walk with my camera, painting. In short, I did all of the quarantine things that everyone else did, and they were more than just enriching—they were my lifelines. Little things do matter. (And if you’re in the market for a pizza dough recipe, I heartily recommend this one.)
— Laura Loker, Associate Editor
In the early pandemic, when homeschooling my school-age kids was added to my plate, my chances to get work done while my newborn napped vanished in thin air. My plan to arrange a part-time babysitter also disappeared, as letting outside people in your home became a dangerous prospect. But after months of slowly accepting the challenging situation, talking with other working moms, and prioritizing my mental health, I ultimately realized I had to make some tough decisions. Without the challenge of the pandemic, I’m not sure I would have gone to the measures I ultimately did to set up great in-home childcare that fits perfectly with my needs. I also welcomed back my house cleaners, to help out regularly again. I didn’t host any parties or go hog wild; I just made two adjustments to get the backup support I needed to keep things afloat as I maintained my work. And what a change it is—today from one year ago! My home, in which I’m spending more time than ever, has become a lovely oasis where I can think creatively and have fun with my family. And now it’s all the more hospitable, too, for get-togethers when it becomes safe to throw the last-minute pot-luck again!
—Mary Rose Somarriba, Associate Editor
If there was an overarching theme to this year, it was being stretched to the breaking point again, and again, and again—and realizing that I wasn’t breaking. I distinctly remember walking by my church last March, thinking that I couldn’t handle it if the pandemic lasted past Easter. But I did, weathering a transatlantic move, a slew of stay-at-home orders and restrictions in two different countries, a lost passport, and countless other things I couldn’t have imagined on that walk. That’s not to say that things weren’t difficult; they were unbelievably so, and without the help of all the amazing people in my life, there’s no way I would have made it through. But looking back, it’s interesting to watch as if from the outside how when things got tough, I rose to the occasion. Seeing myself in retrospect doing things I never thought I could has transformed how I think about the future—I’m less afraid of things once again going wrong, because I’ve risen to the occasion before.
—Emily Lehman, Associate Editor
We want to hear from you! How did you display or grow in resilience in the past year? Let us know here.