Hope Prevails as Life Goes On
It has been a long 8 months for all of us. I have been trying to wrap my head around ways I can try to help my followers, friends and family, while pondering upon how my own roles and future endeavors have been impacted by waves of uncertainty. It is through the story of my mother, a 13-year old who lived through WWII, that may help us to hope and understand that Life Goes On.
The last time I saw my mother was in February 2020 – when the phrase '' the novel coronavirus'' started to become a very real concern amidst talks of lockdowns, mask mandates and overall life uncertainties. I knew I would not be able to see my mother for a long time. I wanted to talk to her about so many things, particularly her experience during WWII and what words of wisdom she could offer to help us through this upcoming time of fear and uncertainty.
In 1943, my mother witnessed the ravages of WWII as a 13-year old in a remote village outside of Paris, France. She worked as a house-keeper and cook for a physician in town. Her duties consisted of cleaning the house, fetching water from the town well, and preparing/cooking meals. Her salary every day consisted of a roast chicken and loaf of baked bread, all of which she prepared herself in her employer's kitchen. She stated how grateful she was to be able to support her family, even as a young child, and that the physician and his wife were very good to her. Then my mother started to cry and she continued with her story. She said that every day, her little brother was waiting for her at the steps of their front door. ''He was starving, Linda – it broke my heart to see him waiting for food every day,'' crying today like she probably did over 77 years ago.
Her story continued as she recounted how her sister was captured and imprisoned because she was in breach of the curfew after drawing water from the well, but released unharmed the day after. The look of fear gripped her as she described running away from the air bombers partially destroying her village, and even witnessed people dying from being caught in the line of fire. These experiences met with tears in her eyes even though they transpired over 7 decades ago. Her story was filled with fear and uncertainty about when this was all going to end. But, as she continued to reflect upon her experiences, she looked away, fighting back tears, until a stilled silence fell between us. After a few short minutes, I gently touched her hand and said...''mom...help me understand what you are thinking about right now...''' She slowly turned her head around, reached for a tissue, while gently wiping her eyes and said: ''Life goes on, Linda....we must always believe that...it is no different from what we are experiencing right now – we are scared and we do not know what is going to happen...but one thing is certain and will remain certain...life goes on – we must never lose that hope. After the war was over, I continued to work and found a job in the factory. I met your father; we got married, and after a few short years came to the United States. We continued to work, started our family, and became citizens of the United States...and in all that time, Linda, we never forgot the time of the war and how we continued to hope and believe.''
Many of us continue working as frontline health care providers, or work from home and home school our children. Many of us have even felt the sting of loss of family or friends, or even unable to visit love ones in extended care facilities. Perhaps you are caring for someone suffering from the emotional toll of the pandemic, or even suffering in silence yourself. When asked about Covid-19, many of us will say that the trajectory of our thoughts and lives has drastically changed. We have been plunged into uncertainty clouded with images of despair and disbelief. Lock downs and mask mandates continue in our nation and across the globe.
As our thoughts and uncertainties raise questions that continue to plague our minds, we must always remember the following:
"It is not a matter of questions, but a belief instilled in hope, that "Life Goes On''.