“We are all in this together….”
In was a hot summer day and my sister and I were kicking a ball back and forth outside of a broken-down bus…a bus that we would be sleeping in later that night.
My family was homeless for a period of time when I was growing up. Not because my dad didn’t bust his ass and work hard; but saving enough for first and last month’s rent and affording all the utilities when you are a newly divorced, single parent raising four kids can be hard. However, while we might have been temporarily homeless in the late 80’s, we weren’t also facing a global pandemic on top of it.
As many of our states are being told to hunker down, self-quarantine and stay-at-home, have you thought of the people who don’t have homes to quarantine in? For me it certainly puts things into perspective. As I am trying to remain as positive as possible during all of this and I’m doing my best to practice self-care, one of my “grateful for” thoughts today is that I have a home to “shelter-in-place” in.
The homeless community (over 570,000 just in the United States alone) is trying to figure out where to go, what to do and what resources they still have access to as shelters across the country are closing or limiting their services due to COVID-19. As many of us are in fear of the economy crashing, the concern of being infected and the fear of not knowing what the next month will bring…there is a family in Boulder, CO right now living out of their car, trying to figure out where to go to shower as the YMCA they have used to shower in has temporarily closed.
Michael Cockerham who is a 47 year old homeless man in Duluth, MN, is struggling with where to go he said, “All of the sudden we’re nothing. Everybody else gets to go home and lock their door and be safe, and I get to walk up and down the street and catch a cold because everything is closed.”
Even when there’s not a global pandemic, homeless shelters struggle to meet the demand. Homeless shelters across the country right now are closing their doors during the day to clean and sanitize to then reopen at night while doing their best to ensure they are keeping their staff and those they serve safe, especially the elderly homeless population.
“My Heart Hurts Right Now For The World…”
My heart hurts right now for the world, for my friends whose businesses are being forced to temporarily close, for the those who have lost their jobs and for the families who have lost love ones…including the family of a man I know who passed away this week due to the virus. Because of my experiences with homelessness when I was young, my heart also hurts these individuals who are not as fortunate as so many of us to be able to “shelter-at-home, because they don’t have one.
I mentioned in my blog last week that practicing self-care is always important, especially in trying times. For me I said deep breathing, exercise and quality sleep are my “go-to” right now. Well, practicing self-care during this time looks very different to someone without a home. They don’t have books to read now that libraries closed, they don’t have a computer to host a “Zoom Happy Hour” with their friends, a bubble bath to relax in with lavender candles burning, or a bed to get that quality good night’s sleep.
Unless the world explodes or implodes tomorrow, life is going to keep moving forward one way or another. I am doing my best to remain positive, but I understand that for many it is frustrating to see meme’s all over Instagram and Facebook that say “this too shall pass” when you are struggling because of [fill in the blank].
This virus is affecting every race, gender, religion, physical ability, political affiliation and socioeconomic status. Remember we are in this together, all of us. Try your best to be thankful for what you have today, take a few deep breaths, you’ll never get this day again so do what you can to keep pressing on, knowing you aren’t alone.
COVID-19 is forcing us to all slow down a little and reflect. Reflect on what is important to us, how this is affecting us and how it is affecting those around us. Allowing us to put some things into perspective, realizing we are ALL facing different difficulties during this challenging time.
Is there good in all of this? Maybe we can’t see it right away, and maybe things will get worse before they get better (like cleaning out your closet) but I believe there will be good that comes out of this in the long run, we just have to get through each day, one at a time.
I know what it is like to not have a home and my heart is aching for those that trying to figure out where to go during all this chaos. Today I am thankful for my roof over my head and I’m doing what I can to stay safe, while helping others when I can. We must remember we are all in this together.
We Got This!