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Challenge: Pandemic Parenting

When it rains, it pours — but we will get through this

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This past year has been hard for everyone, but tragedy for my family started in January of 2019. That was when my mother lost her battle with cancer. She courageously fought for 8 hard years before finally letting go. I've never felt a loss so great and it took a long time to find joy again after losing my best friend.

Then in February of 2020, just before the pandemic hit, my husband's grandmother passed away. She was taken from us by the same terrible disease as my mom, colon cancer. It was like reliving my mother's illness while watching another family go through the same loss and devastation as mine just did. Hospital visits followed by Hospice care. My kids lost another grandma, it was devastating.

A month later, we started hearing about coronavirus more and more. Our children were sent home from school with all of their supplies and remote learning began. My husband started working from home. We watched the news as COVID-19 reports flooded every station. We stayed home, sanitized anything we touched, and wore masks anywhere we had to go. We had no idea how long this would last. We figured life would get back to normal in a few months, boy were we wrong.

It's now been over a year and we are still surviving through this pandemic. We've had a lot of time to spend together as a family, reflecting on what really matters. We've had good days that we made it through with lots of laughter, and bad days barely getting by with lots of tears. What has been consistent is that my family is thankful to have one another and we have been there for each other through the ups and downs.

What we've learned through all of this is we can get through anything together. When my mother was dying, my husband stepped in and allowed me all the time I needed to care for her. There were weeks when it felt like I was barely home a couple of hours a day. My kids showed incredible strength and compassion. They tried to get along, helped with chores, and did little things like drawing pictures for me to try and make me feel better.

When my husband was going through his grandmother being sick, it was my turn to step up for him.

Since the pandemic began, we have all taken turns having bad days. Sometimes all at the same time. Our kids know it's OK to cry. It's OK not to be OK sometimes. That's what family is for, to help lift each other up when you need it the most. We've learned that no matter how hard they seem at the time, bad days will pass, they make us stronger, and no matter what, we will always love each other.

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