Gratitude is all my heart holds this season because 2020 has been an EVENTFUL year for everyone.
The gift of life and mental sanity has been topmost for a number of us who have had to live with constant anxiety, fear of the unknown, and trying to adapt to new experiences like working from home.
It has been a year where my emotions have been on a rollercoaster and almost on the brink of a mental breakdown because my job is the direct opposite of working from home.
From the scare of getting infected by Covid-19 as a frontline caregiver, to working round the clock to keep up with the steady influx of infected persons to our facility, to being physically safe to relate with my family, to constantly being dipped in an atmosphere tense with morbidity. It’s been rough.
Death constantly stared me in the face as I watched people fluctuate between this realm and another, their dry coughs ringing in my ear at every turn. As I lived in layers of PPE and rolled ventilators from bed to bed, I felt a part of my self slowly drain as interaction outside of the hospital became strained. The few times I stepped out to get groceries and saw people hang masks on their chins—or cover only their noses with the masks—I felt a wave of small anger swell in me. I was a cauldron of many emotions, none of them particularly good.
I could go on for an eternity about the dreadfulness of the overflowing ICUs, the numerous intubations, and the countless last breaths I witnessed—all of them fresh, none of them losing their effect. But I feel a little gratitude. Not a gratitude at the expense of the death of these people, but one for myself – just being alive.
I’m grateful that I was part of something larger than myself because there were sparks of hope in those crowded rooms. The 70-year-old man we all thought wouldn’t make it that weakly asked for a glass of water once he was finally able to breathe without assistance. The daughter that sat outside the ICU for days on end, praying for her mother to pull through—she did. The boy brought in with preexisting conditions that already made us lose hope, but hope wasn’t ours to lose because he was discharged with a bright smile. The small moments of humor that were shared with patients and fellow doctors and nurses. I’m deeply grateful for all of those things, not because bad things haven’t happened but because this gratefulness is a conscious, active decision that I am deliberately making.
These are not yet over, cases are still being reported, though on a downward trend, but I believe we’ll pull through. Parents, children, friends, and lovers have been lost and I will not pretend that I can fathom the pain people are experiencing.
But hey! do not forget to actively decide to be grateful. Hug that person tighter, send that appreciation text, indulge in that chocolate bar you’ve been avoiding at the supermarket. In everything, find little pockets of happiness to dwell in. And oh, don’t forget to wear a mask and wear it properly.
Have you joined our 21 days gratitude challenge? Download the template here.