Reflections In A Pandemic

It is with such gratitude that we welcome back Shauncea Starr! She will be in a Guest Contributor role! WELCOME HOME, STARR!

I’ve been in the house since March, leaving only for the grocery store and the occasional trip across town to see my brothers new baby-born in July. I’ve spent more time alone these few months than I have in the past twenty years I think. Even when I was ‘alone’ I was never this alone. 

My house is next level quiet. I live alone with my cat and a few unwelcome crickets. They, the crickets, are a very noisy bunch, they’re really vocal about how much they enjoy being here. Kaow, my beautiful kitty, is very grateful they’re here as well because she’s been hunting and eating them. My cat has always been super clingy but working from home and being home pretty much ‘round the clock, has given her unfettered access to me. When she can see that I’m preparing to leave the house she starts to cry. When I get home, she’s meowing a lot-letting me know she’s happy to see me. I’m always so grateful for her ‘welcome home’ because I feel like it indicates that I’m taking good care of her, that she loves me and feels loved by me. 

This forced quarantine has given me a lot of time to reflect on things like that: Relationships and how we dedicate time and energy to them. Even the relationships that might seem meaningless or small at first, actually have a larger impact than we realize.

During this past six months, my aunt died, My grandfather died, and my mother was diagnosed with a fatal illness…when my mother was diagnosed and given a timeline, I felt like the world stopped. I felt overwhelming fear and so much pressure. What do I do? How do I prepare myself for this? How do I take care of my siblings through this? When she dies, will I recover? Will they? How do I even begin to contemplate a life without my mother in it? Good or bad, that’s my mama. I’m going to miss her more than I can even attempt to measure, so I won’t try to quantify it. I’ve been laser focused on just being super supportive of her, loving and patient. I don’t want to dwell on past mistakes or issues. I just want to overwhelm her with love and peace. I want her to die knowing she is loved and that she has immeasurable value to me. I’ve spent hours and hours just talking with her and reminiscing about good times and bad. Learning from her, listening to her. Learning HER. Enjoying the time. 

Covid-19 stole over 200,000 American lives, countless lives worldwide…and anytime you hear someone talk about it they say,”I never thought Robbie would die this way.” “Who thought a respiratory illness would be what killed Thomas?!” The thing is, that’s how Death is. He just comes. No matter how long you live, Death is coming eventually. Sometimes, people get snatched from us quicker than we can register that Death is even in the room. Sometimes, we get the blessing of time. We get years and years with so many people. We form countless relationships over our lifetimes. We invest time and energy to form these relationships and then, we get distracted by life, by personal issues, by love and work and grief—just LIFE gets in the way of nurturing these relationships. Covid has taught me that we allow that to happen too often. Life should be spent building and nurturing healthy relationships with our people. Learning from them and spending time learning who they are and what they offer to the world-because in a blink, they could be gone, forever and we’ll be wishing for just a little more time. Covid has given me a stark reminder not to waste time. To enjoy life, to enjoy the people that have been added to my life, to relearn the people I thought I already knew. 

I’ve always felt like life should be more than just working and resting to work the next day. I’ve always felt life was meant to be enjoyed with the people we enjoy. Covid has shown me I’m not wrong. Life is so short and we have so little time with the people we love. I have learned that it’s okay for me to be emotional and wanna spend time with and shower love all over the people I love. I don’t need to be embarrassed because no matter what I’m doing in life, one day, Death is going to come for me and I want to be at peace with how I’ve spent my time. I want my friends and family to know they’re loved. I want them to feel it, I want them to be soaked in it. I don’t want anyone to be confused about how I feel. 

I want them to know that I gave them all the time and energy I could.

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