I read a memoir recently, about someone who is surviving cancer. The author describes how they have felt throughout the journey: the feelings include all the stages of grief, as well as survivor guilt and PTSD. As I was reading the feelings of the author, I couldn’t help but think of the corollary of surviving: how any time there’s a tragedy, the feelings that come alongside it are the same, no matter what the tragedy.

Think about COVID.

How many times have people stated “But look at how many people have died”. How many people have dwelt on the sheer number of dead people? See, that’s survivor guilt.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t be mourning those who have been lost: I just wonder how much good this is doing our mental health….

We survived. Others didn’t.

How do we move on?

Is making ourselves feel guilty about making it to the other side going to do anyone any good?

How about PTSD…

I know I have PTSD from 9/11. I tell my daughter that I love her every time I say good bye to her. Every. Time. I still remember people I knew who had loved ones that died that day: there biggest regret was not telling them how much they loved them every single day…so that became my thing. My daughter, born post 9/11 says it to me as well. She knows how I carry the trauma of that event in my head and heart every day.

How many people are going to live the rest of their lives with Pandemic PTSD? Will they be able to function normally, or will the scars be more visible?

Hold those thoughts for a moment:

The other night I was on Zoom book club. One of the women was supposed to miss book club because one of her children and her grandchildren were in town (one of her kids lives sort of local to her) M was supposed to go out to dinner with her two kids and assorted grandkids- first time all together in over a year. M decided not to go to dinner- she is still too scared to venture out socially. Her out of town relations were only going to be in town for a short stay…but M was too afraid to go out…

Hold that too…

My co op board recently met to discuss whether or not we needed to wear masks in our building. The rule was brought to a vote after the CDC and New York State said that masks were no longer required indoors if people are vaccinated. At the first meeting, it was decided that the board would make a decision after the Realty Board gave out their ruling.

A week after NY state made the decision, the Realty Board agreed to the no masks if vaccinated policy.

Still, the board had an issue.

A vote was taken- 4-3 in favor of getting rid of masks for vaccinated people. The minority still wasn’t happy and were quite vocal about it. Finally someone said:

Three groups that dictate what we do and don’t do have stated that masks are not needed. The infection rate is very low. Over 60% of New Yorkers have been vaccinated. At what point will you feel safe? What is your magic number? What do you need to see to get to this next step?

And after that the three dissenters conceded.

There is no magic number to feeling safe.

Safety is not a guarantee.

I know that we all have a wide variety of feelings about the past year. It has been a horrific event. But what made this event even worse is that we have chosen sides. We have mocked the way people felt.

There is no right way to get through a traumatic event. We all handle things differently.

However-

We all need to get past this. Note I did not say get over it. I did not say that you are not allowed to have feelings, deep, ingrained feelings, about this event.

I am just saying that we need to move forward.

So what will it take for you to move forward?

What is the number that you are looking for?

What is the event that you are waiting for?

This isn’t the end of a game where we count down 10-9-8…

We will never get to 1…

People who move on aren’t insensitive. They don’t lack empathy. They just know that no matter what happened yesterday, we need to get through today. We need to get to tomorrow.

How do you want your tomorrow to be?

106 thoughts on “After the Fact

  1. Have you ever seen those videos when they go to release a previously injured animal back into the wild and it’s too scared to come out of its cage? I did not want that to be me.

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      1. I got into it with a friend of mine over this..and here’s how I feel..it’s basically pretty simple..you either believe that the vaccine does all they say it does or you don’t. The tragedy is if you got the vaccine and still restrict yourself as before..I mean what was the point?

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      2. That’s what I don’t understand. Sure…maybe don’t go crowd surfing at a concert, but to still not go out at all? Too scared to get together with family?

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      3. The lesson I learned from 2020 is not to put off anything if you can help it because who knows what tomorrow may bring. Putting off getting together with family takes the confidence you should have in your vaccine and places it instead on some mystery date in the future when you are CONFIDENT everyone will be able to get together again. That’s not how I think anymore..

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      4. I remember when this thing first started getting ugly last spring.. one night some nasty tornado hit like in Alabama or somewhere and a bunch of people were killed. When my mom and I talked about it the next day we noted that the one of the biggest concerns some of those victims may have had prior to the twister was Covid.. there are no guarantees in life period. Carpe Diem I say..esp if you are vaccinated!!

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  2. Maybe it’s because the state in which I live never had any ‘restrictions’ and we had to navigate our decision to wear masks in a place that truly disdained (and were aggressively against) that decision – but I just walk out with my mask handy. If it feels like I might ‘need’ it – I put it on. If not, I don’t. Still get glares and restrained disdain from others on both sides of the mask issue, but hey – my decisions are not hurting anyone!

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      1. Agreed. I’m just saying that after aggressive anti-mask sentiments here, and us being ‘double masked’ persons while in the midst of a sea of crowded groups without masks for so long…this ‘after’ scenario seems like a cake-walk. But ultimately, the virus wins out when it is deemed as ‘a hoax and nothing to worry about’…
        sigh.
        Soooo I keep that mask handy, like I said!!!

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  3. Excellent post – great questions. We each have our New Normal and that is dictated by the individual’s fears, denial, hopes, past experiences and more.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. We were becoming a very risk averse society before Covid and this just made it worse. I think we all need to do what is comfortable for us and live and let live. And that’s both sides. No judgment for those who wear masks forever and stay isolated and no judgment for those who get vaccinated and ditch the mask.

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    1. I don’t care what people do or don’t do. I want them to be aware of their actions and consequences of them. Guilt and being scared can easily morph into regret

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  5. You’ve stated a clear fact: everyone will respond in their own way to this and there is no real timeline for those responses. Right and wrong don’t play into the moving forward part and it’s important to ask oneself how do I specifically plan to move forward. Masks are still a part of my work days, but we are mostly open and no-mask if vaccinated here. It’s odd in many ways, after so long, but wonderful!

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  6. This is one of those ‘to each his own’ situations wherein there are no hard and fast rules. Just guidelines and opportunities to follow your own internal compass. As for me, I rather enjoy being home and not mixing it up with people so I’ll be moving forward by staying put. Not because I’m scared of going out, but because the last 15 months have allowed me to relax into who I am, a wordy hermit!

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  7. Funny you should post this today as it marks the 4th anniversary of my sons death. He didn’t die of an overdose or accident. It was an AVM rupture (think of it as an aneurism) and he died in front of us. As a parent it is an overwhelmed feeling of failure, I failed to protect and keep him safe. I’ll never get to “1” everyday is a moment in time. He was 27, we spoke about his plans, his career, his life. He had just purchased his first new car. This was my yesterday and it will be my tomorrow. I see our friends children moving on, they graduate, start careers, get married, buy houses and are having children, I only have a moment in time. I am stepping up on my soap box, but society has an issue when children die. No one wants to mention his name, nor do they ask how we are, this isnt something you “get over.” And btw never use the phrase “moving on” to a parent who has lost a child. You never get over it, or move on. It becomes another part of being a parent. I still have 3 children and always will. Enough of a buzz kill for one day, I am sorry to interrupt your post in a different light but dealing with trauma and loss is personal. Each person will deal with it accordingly and based on how their inner self permits. I am fortunate that COVID was not as big of a deal as in NYC, no PTSD here.

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  8. For the people who have have had the shots and still wear the masks, I guess that is their decision as is the decision not to have the shots. It is hard not to judge people who still wear the masks but I try not to as you don’t know nowadays who you are dealing with. I mentioned it to another person in a store and he said, “Maybe they keep wearing it because they think it is cool.” I actually could see it becoming a political statement of some sort from some people….but I just moved on. To each his own.

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      1. True. I think those with masks are still following the mandate or trying to show they follow government. Perhaps the mask gives them some advantages -who knows….and will we ever know their truth. I just need to keep my mouth closed and move on.

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  9. I have a sense of mourning that a year ago my kids missed out on some milestones due to COVID. My daughter missed her college graduation. My son missed prom and his high school graduation.
    My son has been going to some high school grad parties for kids that were a year younger than him that he used to play sports with. It has been a bit bittersweet for him.

    Have seen COVID up close as a nurse. People are still dying. I don’t want to say I have PTSD–but it has definitely been an odd experience. Just flabbergasted that wearing masks and vaccines are such a divisive issue and it honestly makes me weary. I follow some medical twitter accounts and the way some of the vaccine experts are treated online is just terrible. And if the vaccine experts are Jewish they are sometimes treated to an extra layer of anti-Semitic harrassment.

    My daughter’s workplace stopped mandating the masks as soon as the new CDC recommendations came out. She has been vaccinated. She is just getting over having a bad cold that happened after she stopped wearing a mask.

    I still have to wear a mask at work. I enjoy not having to wear a mask to the grocery store, etc.

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  10. It’s sad that people in relatively Covid-safe areas would continue to limit their social interaction. It may lead to a sort of crippling. I am living my life. It will be over far too soon to suit me, no matter how long I live.

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    1. Yes. As always, we seem to be in sync a bit…I’ve been tossing this idea around for a bit. I’m watching people, and I sometimes think they’re waiting for someone to say “end scene”….

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      1. And I don’t think they get that there is no end to SARS. This will continue in variations forever. Are people going to keep spreadsheets? Track A-Z? I mean, they can if they want, but I’m going to the movies. Oh…my daughter wanted me to tell you she read White Teeth twice…once in high school and once in college. She said it’s better the second time around because you catch certain things….I’m not advocating for you to finish it, but there you go

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      2. There is absolutely nothing you could say, short of offering me a healthy stipend, that would make me return to that book!

        Yes…that part about SARS…it’s a forever kind of thing, so we need to all decide how we’re going to (personally) deal with it.

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  11. I moved on exactly two weeks after my 2nd vaccine. I’m immunocompromised bc of my Multiple Sclerosis medication, which meant my husband and I were in complete lockdown in our tiny Denver apartment for over a year. No visits with family or friends. All food and goods delivered. We left our apartment wearing N95s to let our dogs out and for my doctor’s appointments. That’s it. An entire year of being able to use my body to explore this world while it still can was stolen from me. I’m not giving COVID one more good day than I have to and choose to trust the science.

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  12. I’m so sorry you lived through 911. Of course that will always stay with you. We had a visit last week from one of my daughter’s swim coaches from her early teen years. He and his wife came over with their two grandsons, ages 6 and 8. The 8-year-old had a meltdown at our front door and wouldn’t come inside. Today, the coach called and told me they learned why. My husband answered the door without a mask, was a stranger to the child and the young boy thought he’d catch COVID and die! Can you imagine how this past year will affect the psyche’s of young children?

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      1. My kids, who are in their 20s now, feel traumatized by 911. We were in California at the time, but they were getting ready for school and remember watching it on TV clearly. Also, the stock market crash of 2008/09 has stuck with them. The firm my husband was one of them that went under. They still feel very unsure of financial security since then.

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      2. I have to say that my grandchildren aren’t traumatized. ( they are 9 and ten ) They adapted to on line schooling in 2020 pretty well and went back in the fall of 2020 wearing masks. My son and daughter-in-law kept them in a lot of safe activities . Drive by birthday parties , good old out door neighbor hood block parties where everyone was masked but each house had music and people danced in front of their houses or roller skated in masks. My son set up an out door movie screen in his back yard and let a few kids at a time in at a distance to watch films.
        The cub scout community gathered up Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners for needy families and my grandchildren ,wearing masks, delivered food to homes suffering where parents had lost their jobs due to covid. My son and daughter in law kept the kids safe and active . They didn’t miss much.

        At my grandchildren’s school they had car parades for the children who made the principal’s honor roll ( straight A’s) where from their cars the kids drove by and were given awards and certificates. Loud music played and teacher stood outside with banners waving. ( all masked).
        I have to say, their community did a wonderful job of involving children during this difficult time.
        So while my grandson (A future scientist ) will probably wear his mask forever since he realized this was the first year of his life that he didn’t get bronchitis due to everyone wearing masks, (He has asthma and this was his healthiest year ever). He continues to wear a mask everywhere. Both children always wear one around me since they know my immune system is compromised.
        But they are happy and healthy. And did not seem to suffer much. Both their parents worked from home during the pandemic . So I think they all really liked the set up.

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      3. You are extremely lucky. I don’t know anyone with a kid up 21 who didn’t see their child experience mental trauma of some sort. True, some kids it was more minor, but overall, kids suffered. Missing proms, graduations, class trips, sports, general socializing. Plus all the time spent on screens. I foresee this being a huge issue in the very near future

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  13. I don’t think moving forward has anything to do with wearing a mask. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous for people NOT to wear masks in public. We still have people dying from covid. I have two vaccinated friends who traveled (separately) and both got covid. One was hospitalized for 6 weeks and is still suffering. She stopped wearing her mask thinkING that being vaccinated would keep her safe. Evidently not. So, until my doctor tells me not to wear one, I’ll continue to grab that sucker as I walk out the door each day. It just seems logical based on stats. In fact, I will probably wear a mask for a very long time. But NOT because I was traumatized, but because I think it’s the safest thing to do while in public. Covid was not traumatizing for me. But for those people who lost loved ones it was devastating. I had technology, zoom meetings, ordered everything on line that kept me busy. That wasn’t at all traumatic for me, I rarely got bored. A little lonely some days, but I was ok by myself. Having cancer during covid WAS traumatic. But cancer is miserable without covid, and it continues to be a daily traumatic battle. Wearing a mask is not the issue. And moving on certainly isn’t the issue. Besides what does moving on have to do with saving lives? I am not sure this qualifies in the moving on category. Until people stop dying we take health precautions. They didn’t stop worrying about small pox spread a few weeks after the vaccine came out. It took time for the data to say it was wiped out.

    I have moved on many times in my life. That’s never been an issue for me. But there is NO time limit on trauma. Women can block a rape and 30 years later still be traumatized when there’s a trigger. War can do the same thing. You can’t put a time span on trauma. It’s different for everyone and each experience is different. The doctors and nurses in the ER may never move on.

    Covid is a disease. It’s about health and immune system vulnerability. It has nothing to do with moving on. That’s like telling someone who has lost a limb to run a race and just forget that he’s in a wheelchair. His physical limitations prevent that. Until this disease is at 0 we need to continue to be cautious. Certainly a positive attitude is best when surviving any trauma. But your friend not wanting to see out of town visitors? Heck, I’ve turned down people too. It’s not worth it. When my oncologist stops taking temperatures and everyone in the office takes off their masks I’ll take mine off. That’s just good sense. I see family members. But nobody else but my neighbors who all wear masks.

    In Canada it is my understanding that they are still wearing masks. I think we jumped the gun in America. I still wear a mask on my walks. And I social distance too. I’ll continue until the data reaches less than 5 percent. I look at this like a math problem. So far the numbers are not there yet.

    .

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    1. Because of my era visit, I’ve been to a bunch of doctors in the past three months. Every single one of them has told me personally not to wear a mask any more. My pcp went as far as telling me I need to rebuild my immune system back up because things will get harder to battle without building up natural defenses. But moving on isn’t about the mask. It’s about being afraid to do things again. Specifically, the woman in my book club…if I were to describe how she looked on the zoom screen it would be sadness. She’s too scared to see her children and grandchildren in person. She also cried when she said she’s not ready to go out again. I don’t know how healthy that mindset is. I worry about being scared/guilt turning quickly into regret. When will people want to see others in person? When will people not be scared? sARS has been around for awhile, and it’s not going anywhere. The number will never be 0. Never. It’s not something that can be eradicated. They did a survey of New Yorkers- more people here are worried about being the victim of a violent crime on the subway than they are of getting COVID On the subway. I’m scared for myself, my daughter, my friends every single day. I always realize that we could die. But that’s my ptsd from 9/11. I know how it makes me feel. I just want people to be aware of their actions and the consequences.

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      1. I think your book club friend is the exception to the rule. Poor thing. I started seeing my grandchildren in person in July of 2020. We all celebrated the 4 th of July outside in their back yard wearing masks. We had a barbecue and distancing while eating. I was in the middle of chemo. And it was before anyone was vaccinated. We were just careful and it was done outside. This Mother’s Day we were indoors without masks but my son had the kids wear masks. I guess I know how careful they are so I didn’t worry. I do worry about strangers who aren’t vaccinated.
        I have a group of teacher friends now all retired and we used to meet for lunch . We have been doing monthly zoom meetings. We are talking about meeting outside for lunch in July. Some of them are not ready yet either. I would attend out doors.
        But everyone is masked. However, I live in Florida and a lot of Floridians aren’t vaccinated. I get the 911 ptsd. That was horrific. Btw. One of the terrorists who flew the planes that went into the building were from Coral Springs which was where I was living at the time. Crazy!

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      2. I don’t think she’s the exception. I see, and read blogs, of people who are afraid to engage again. I think it’s going to be very very bad.

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    2. Lesley, yes we are still wearing masks here in Canada, but then we only have about 70% of the population vaccinated with only one dose, (due to short supply they spaced the doses out more to get more people done), and 10% with two doses. We tend to be more cautious here, as our medical system cannot handle a big uptick so as soon as that happens we go into lockdown again (which varies by province). We’ve been in lockdown in Ont. now for 5 months. I know that some of the northern US states are agitating to open the border again for travel and vacations as our dollar is cheaper etc but I don’t see that happening anytime soon until we get lots more vaccinated. We currently have to get our Pfizer supply from Belgium, even though there is a drug plant right across the border in Michigan, and Biden recently announced giving away doses to poorer countries. I think you are wise to continue to wear a mask for now. I’m very picky about who I see and what I do. Many of my friends are medical people and due to their exposure we won’t be getting together any time soon, no matter what restrictions are lifted. I was surprised when Dr. Faucci lifted the mask mandate so soon, as it didn’t seem wise in the face of the variants and the number still not vaccinated, and many unlikely to do so. I know he was trying to offer people a reason to get the vaccine but it seemed too early to me. Same with lifting the travel restrictions. Just my opinion, which tends to be biased towards the medical.

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  14. LA,
    I know my family and I have done what we can to be as safe as we can. We do what we can do and then we leave it to God. I know this philosophy doesn’t work for everyone, but that’s what is working for me and my family. I found myself out in the world without a mask on last Sunday and wondered how that happened. I’m slowly getting back to old routines pre-Covid. You know what? It’s just happening without my overthinking it. I think that’s progress because a few months ago, I wasn’t even leaving the house unless it was for a very good reason. Mona

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have to ask ourselves if we are taking care of our mental health. I’m way more worried about that than I ever was on COVID. The after effects of this are going to be far worse than the actual virus

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      1. But you’re taking care of your mental health, right? It’s kind of overwhelming at first, I think. It’s kind of like going out into the blinding sun without sunglasses on. You have to slowly acclimate and use buffers here and there until you’re back to where you were before. For those who have lost loved ones, of course, life is never going to be the same again. But for those of us who were “lucky,” I’m not sure it’s going to be as difficult. But what do I know?

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      2. I admit that I am not close with anyone who died or lost loved ones during COVID. One friend lost his mother, but COVID was just the icing on a very layered cake of ailments. However I know a host of people who had relatives due that were 100% not related to COVID. I’m taking care of mine, but I’m conscious of how depressed I was at one point during this. I know I wanted to not talk to anyone for awhile. Everything seemed hopeless at one point. I was more saddened by my daughter spending her sophomore year of college alone and in our house. But I look around and I see substance abuse on the rise, depression on the rise…I don’t have any friends whose kids weren’t traumatized by this in some way. I fear for people not looking at their mental health accurately.

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  15. You’re my favorite daytime talk show; do you know that? 😀

    We’re never, *never* going to get to 100% vaccination rate. I know people who feel so strongly about their rights, the risks, the suspicious pressure – that they will forge documentation if they have to.

    So much for magic numbers. *sigh*

    What bothers me is how many people kept saying, “We’ll never be back to normal.” At least over here in Utah, we’re back. We’re normal. Like you said, it’s different perspectives. Different ways to cope.

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    1. Even if we had 100% vaccination, we are still going to have SARS. This can’t be eradicated. We have to live with it and hope we don’t ever get a strain this bad again

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  16. My favorite quote from this post: “They just know that no matter what happened yesterday, we need to get through today. We need to get to tomorrow.” Yes exactly. And there are no guarantees, vaccinated or not. Change is permanently here and always have been as we can’t stay stagnant. We need to learn to roll with life’s challenges no matter what they are. I’m not making light of what Covid has done to our world as it’s turned it upside down for sure and changed it irrevocably for some who passed, who lost loved ones and who now live more in fear than not.
    But getting through today, even by baby steps, is what is important. Well, that and being united with kindness and love.

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  17. Moving on already, while also knowing that we don’t know what we don’t know and that anything can happen….however, movement is key. Movnig backward, forward, sideways, up and down, it matters not. What matters is to stretch ourselves, even if it’s just a little. I have team members that are not ready to come back to the office. I respect that and can hold that with them, while also being very authentic in sharing the reality with them that I will continue to coach them on coming back. Step by step…

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    1. If people need emotional support, which they do, we should give it to them. To pretend that everyone is hunky dory is a very very dangerous road to go down

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  18. This is a great, thought provoking post LA. Felt like you struck the right balance. Do not sense you are insensitive, in the least. You get it. We had a friend (Helen) who was in her late 80’s when she finally died. @ one point in her later life, she lost her husband, sister, and grandson (he committed suicide) all in a short amount of time….What struck me was the resilience in her in the midst of all of that heartache, and I asked her about it. (her attitude) She told me, Yes, I grieve, but you have to keep living, you have to. There was not a hint of self pity, or denial in her words. She spoke from first hand experience. She loved life /Your post reminded me of her.

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  19. I guess it depends on whether you are an optimist or a pessimist. 60% vaccinated means 40% not, so still lots of risk there. Not no risk, that will never happen at least not for a few years. Also we don’t know how well the vaccine will work against the Delta/India variant which is going to pop up in places, it’s already here, and then we’ll all need a booster. I think some people are dealing with agoraphobia now….and it may or may not be justified depending on where you live and your own health situation/immune system. Some people are more content to stay home. I would never ridicule anyone for erring on the side of caution though for awhile longer. As for mental health issues, people have to be their own judge of what they need to maintain that, and if going out is helping, then I guess it’s a personal choice. Not much open here yet anyway – I just want a haircut!

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    1. I guess I look at it like this. Over 2 million people a year are injured in car accidents every year. And that’s just the US. Do people stop driving because it’s too risky? I’m not telling people what to do. I just want people to make a conscious decision of their choices and the consequences. If you’re too scared to see family or do “normal” things, what are you doing? Staying at home cause you are a homebody is one thing. Being too scared to engage is another

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      1. I was thinking more along the line of giving it a bit more time until more people get vaccinated and the numbers go down further. But if you aren’t ever going to achieve a vaccination rate above 60% then I guess it’s an individual decision when to go out and resume normal activities or not. I do think most people have made a conscious decision of the amount of risk they are willing to live with. I know some people who do everything and don’t think twice about it and others who seldom leave their house and worry when they do. I’m certainly not brave enough to eat in a restaurant here yet, even outside, but then we’ve only had one dose. But then some people aren’t worriers and others over-worry and I’m in the later category. If that’s your personality type, then I don’t see people changing their minds readily. Maybe she is just to scared to engage right now…..not forever.

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      2. Ny reached 70% vaccinated yesterday. Governor lifted almost all restrictions and we had fireworks to celebrate it. If the vaccine is 94% effective with 0% vaccinated, with 70% vaccinated the effective rate goes up to what, 98.5%, give or take. The number of cases will likely never reach 0 because a sars type thing is not able to be eradicated, it can just be controlled. There will always be some sort of sars out there. It depends on what your expectation of life is. Will you regret not doing something because you were scared you might get sick? I’m really risk averse…no skydiving, no scuba, I don’t even go on roller coasters. I can live without those things. But being out and about? I can’t imagine not. But everyone does need to make their own choices. I just think people are waiting for someone to say COVID has conceded. The war is over. And that’s just not going to happen

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  20. I think the decision is an entirely personal one, and whatever choice a person makes should be respected and supported. Even if they are missing out, it’s their life and their choice how to live it, what you or any other person feels is completely irrelevant. Some people are focussed on staying alive, whilst others are focussed on living. Each to their own I say. Personally I feel what’s most important is kindness and understanding. What causes your mental health to suffer may not be what causes another person to suffer. We’re all going to be taking the next few steps at our own pace and none of us should be asked to justify or give reasons for our choices.

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    1. No one has to do anything. No one has to ever leave their house. Society is now set up where everything can be delivered. But agoraphobia is a real mental health issue. As is hoarding, which is another PTSD symptom. Everyone gives at their own pace. But when does fear/guilt become regret? The phrase back on the horse is a cliche for a reason. Personally, I think the mental health crisis we are about to endure is going to be horrible. People do need to be a bit introspective and realize the consequences of their action. If you’re afraid to see your family in person, how will that make you feel long term?

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      1. Yes, agoraphobia is a real mental health issue – I have experienced it myself. But so is anxiety. When you are in the grip of anxiety or of fear, you cannot think about anything else. It’s simply not a place where rational thought can function. There’s no capacity for considering how you will feel in the longer term. Asking rational questions/trying to get a fearful or anxious person to quantify when or how they will be able to overcome their fear or anxiety, will not help them. We already have a mental health crisis – we had it long before COVID. It is likely that more people will also experience mental health difficulties after COVID – but compassion is what helps, not expecting people who are suffering to get back on the horse.

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      2. I have compassion. I also don’t want to see people get so caught up that they’re breathing but not living. I get ptsd. I have it. FYI I have been mocked on this blog by people telling me to get over it. Mocked and called names and not by trolls…by regular people. People who have trouble coping with divorce are mocked. This isn’t an excuse. This is a legitimate issue. People don’t have compassion. Period.

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  21. Wow, this discussion hit a cord with people. I think we need to return to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible if you feel comfortable doing so. I’m middle-aged and vaccinated so I feel very comfortable socializing with family and friends without a mask. I understand the trepidation and respect those who need more time. California just released us from most of the restrictions. And I agree this has been horrendous on the mental health of our young people. C

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    1. I’m probably going to lose half my readers after this one….but if I’m not true to myself then the rest doesn’t matter. Gives me a great idea for tomorrow’s post though

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  22. I think all of us are seeking inner peace, whether it be a conscious or unconscious search. I know I had PTSD from all of my trips to the ER for asthma when I was a kid – 78 trips in my worst year. I had PTSD after my first career as a Critical Care Nurse and it took 2 years for the nightmares to stop. I believe many nurses have PTSD in the normal course. I can’t imagine how traumatized first responders must be from 9-11, or health care practitioners from the pandemic. Just horrible. I had PTSD when my daughter was unfairly stripped away from me after my divorce. That is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I am getting traumatized again having MCS and experiencing neurotoxic reactions from the simplest of things on a daily basis. How we move forward, well, we adapt and we move on. If we can’t adapt I think life ends, even if the person is still alive.

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    1. This is my worry. Anxiety is not something we strive for. If we are feeling anxious about things like visiting family and going to the market we need to look at that. This isn’t about a lack of compassion. This is about making sure we all get the help we need.

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      1. I don’t think people realize how bad the mental health repercussions are/are going to be. The time to work on this is now…catch it early. But I appear to be in the minority in this

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  23. Personally, I’m moving forward right now. I know that there’s a small chance I can still get Covid even as a fully-vaccinated person, but I’m willing to take that chance. There’s a small chance I can get all sorts of diseases, some contagious and some not. There is no such thing as total safety, and I think the events of the past year have made many believe that they shouldn’t “let their guard down” until safety can be guaranteed. And it’s never going to be guaranteed. I know some people think the US should have had stricter, and longer, lock-downs, but I’m not one of them.

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    1. I’m with you. I understand anxiety. I understand being scared. But I don’t want to see people become so hyper vigilant that they miss out on living. I know my opinion is not popular, but it’s my feeling and I’ll own it. I’d like to help my friends get through this

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  24. I guess I consider myself to be a sort of optimistic fatalist and have had the basically same outlook on life for most of my own. If anything, this viewpoint has been strengthened and supported as the world, our country, my friends and family and myself have emerged in different ways from the pandemic, as more has become known about the vaccines and all the good and bad impacts they can have on an individual’s overall physical health.

    As a California native who had been looking forward to returning, I took pride in my state’s initial quick reaction, even if some of the succeeding actions may have been a bit of overkill and/or had unintended consequences. This “nanny state” has always had the best interests of all its citizens behind most of the actions its government has taken in many areas.

    On the other hand, after living for 15 years in Tennessee, I was and am sadly not surprised to see the the largely skeptical response of the majority of its citizens to the availability and efficacy of vaccines. In the Buckle on The Bible Belt I had grown to expect that those “Christians” would at most only pay lip service to helping, supporting or in this case really saving the lives of their fellow men and women, many of whom did not have the same opportunities they had to be able to isolate and still support themselves and their families. This hypocrisy has angered me since shortly after I moved there so, although I had hope, I did not have any expectation that these short and narrow-sighted people would open their minds in this respect.

    In the end, I like most of you am still trying to define the new normal for myself. I’m vaccinated and have begun gradually cutting back on mask wearing. I still have a bunch in my car and often still keep one in my pocket. All of that caution is because my mom has been in the hospital and is now on hospice in a board and care home where masks are still required, and rightly so. My kids have by and large returned to their pre-pandemic normal, though one has stretched the benefit of working from home during the pandemic to still having and using it as an option that will allow her to work remotely while she’s out here visiting her grandma in “the home”. My son-in-law can continue to work from home for probably the rest of the year, but will have to return to the coal mine/his office in 2022.

    Going forward I think and hope there will be many general lessons learned as a result of how we got through the last approximately 18 months. Among the possibilities I can think of: more flexible remote work schedules partly based on recognition of the fact that the demise of the planet was slowed for the period in which we all isolated; recognition of the fact that no matter how hard any individual or group tries to isolate itself from and or all others, when you come down to it we are all interdependent on each other; because of that, especially in retrospect, maybe more of us will be less judgmental of our fellow humans and more willing to put ourselves in their places; religionists might be more willing to listen to scientists and vice versa.

    Finally, at my age, I find myself falling back on the thought I had before the pandemic: We are leaving the generations that follow ours a world that is pretty messed. Post-pandemic and noting all of the times where many of these bright and caring younger people have put themselves out, in as safe a manner as possible, to at least express themselves on the issues in the above paragraph and so many more that have been long festering i.e racism in all its forms for which and I think many of them may realize that new blood being injected into management of all our institutions might be able to tweak them enough to bring them up to date and make them usable once again.

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  25. I wish we had the choice as to whether or not we wear the mask. It’s still law here even if you have had two jabs. There is talk that we shall have to wear them until next year. Personally I feel we need to say enough is enough and move on. We have to learn to live along side this disease as we do flu, which used to kill thousands.
    I feel for young children some have never seen the smile of a strangers face, they are being brought up in a atmosphere of fear of germs. Life needs to be lived, none of us know how long we have.

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