What We’ve Gotten Back: Lessons From COVID-19
Editor’s Note: We have a simple goal: tap into the power of the global diabetes community to save lives. Visit coronavirusdiabetes.org to learn more about what you can do as a person with diabetes to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19 until we’re all safe.
This article was published in April 2020.
We are witnessing one of the worst health crises in modern history. Life as we knew it took a 360 degree turn and we have been forced to stay in our homes. Yes, I recognize I am overcome with fear and concerns for the future that lies ahead of us and the great challenges that it will bring. But, even in the midst of this pandemic, the only way I can keep my sanity and faith is by learning to value what social isolation has brought back to us.
Our family has spent many years homeschooling our children, that isn’t a drastic change for us. I already worked from home, so that has not changed. But in the face of the onslaught of the media and the urgency of this situation, it’s become necessary to sit down and analyze how much we have to be thankful for and how lucky many of us are.
I am a mom of three boys, all baseball players. The arrival of COVID-19 canceled their baseball seasons. Are we suffering a bit? Of course we are, but they have not allowed this situation to interfere with their goals. Now they are practicing at home, they help each other and while they do, they spend hours outdoors on our patio. Many times I move my office to the terrace of our house because listening to their laughter, jokes and voices just fills me with joy. It gives me joy to know that they are healthy, that although sometimes they get bored, they understand that in order to resume our routines in the future, it is necessary to stay home.
I have learned to turn our terrace into that place of escape where the fresh breeze and the rays of the sun are able to cheer everyone up. When was the last time you sat outside without your cell phone, without any noise, and devoted time to listening to the birds sing and observing all the little creatures? Those moments are where you realize how wonderful our universe is and we humans are only a small part of that great community.
Social isolation has taught me that being physically isolated does not mean that we need to lose contact with our family and friends. Personally, I have had the chance to speak even more with the loved ones who I can’t see on a daily basis or who live far away. The need to know how they are turns into a video call and it’s a great way to connect. If this is your case too, when this crisis passes, do not break those ties of communication—we ALL need each other ALWAYS.
Analyzing + modifying
These days at home have also been helpful to observe and modify my son Jaime’s type 1 diabetes management. Little by little, we are turning control over to him as soon he will go to college.
Please use this time to have conversations so that both parents and children can feel equally heard. Maybe we as parents have our ways of doing some things, but never question your child’s ability to know what they need or to propose new ways to manage their diabetes. Believe me, our children are often smarter than we think.
One of the phrases that I have read recently and that had a positive impact on me is: “Stay home so that when we can get together, no one will be missing.” And although it is a harsh reality, it is very true. Think about the families that will lose loved ones and turn that into motivation and value this time. Yes, it’s true that we just can’t wait to be able to go for a walk, see a movie, play sports, go to school… but we can’t just yet.
My biggest takeaway from this crisis is that I am promising myself that I will be a better person and my priorities will change. Every life lesson should be a plus for our personal growth and this my dear friends is one of the most important learning experiences we will ever have. Value what really matters: your family, your health and especially yourself.
Don’t think under any circumstances that I am trying to diminish the importance of the different situations that millions are facing and will continue to face as this unfolds. Many people will lose jobs, homes and even worse: family.
Still, the message is clear: united at a distance, we can get through this. And if we can find a way to take something from this situation, we will be that much better for it.
Read another piece about family—Protect Your Loved Ones: A Husband’s Perspective on T1D + COVID-19.