The aftermath of the pandemic


Last updated 3/24/2021 at 8:41am

The vaccine showed up, the numbers are going down, and places are beginning to open back up. While the hope of a return to normalcy may be peeking out, I want to remind ourselves that some of the worst repercussions of this pandemic are beginning to emerge.

This past week, a tragedy, a suicide, occurred with a high school student right in our area's backyard. While we all wish it was an anomaly, the truth is that the pain is right here in our house. Life can be difficult no matter who you are, where you live and what you have or don't have. It will benefit us all to remember that we are surrounded by (or may be) hurting people.

Following the day we were released from school last year due to the pandemic, it hit me strongly that some of the major consequences of the ensuing pandemic were not going to be physical health related. The minute I heard that groups like AA and NA were not meeting in person but the drive-through liquor stores were running strong, that people were being sent home to quarantine together, some in abusive situations, and that everything people do and sometimes live for was being shut down and taken away, I knew that when the medical crisis ended, this would not be over.

While the medical side is not completely over, we are beginning to see the strong mental and emotional consequences of what the last year has done. Relapses, abuse, mental health emergencies that come in many different forms, self-harm, suicide. All of these events are beginning to come to the surface. We cannot ignore these. We cannot say, "That's so sad," and then move on as if unaffected. We, as a community and as humans, must take notice and look out for each other.

I beg of anyone who reads this to make a conscious effort to notice those around you. If possible, smile a little more, truly ask how someone is, say hello to those you pass, and above all NOTICE. Notice when someone looks down or sad, notice when something seems different, notice when someone eats less or more than usual, notice when they talk less or withdraw. These are not the only signs of pain. Some people are skilled at hiding pain. I just ask that you try to notice. As we notice each other and attempt to give any bit of light, love, and hope, we spread something to others that they simply may not be able do for themselves at the time. 

If you are hurting, I beg of you to trust and remember that there are others who care. Look to family, to friends, to a church, to a group that you are associated with (your job, school, church, Rotary Club, etc.), a doctor (CMC has great help available!), mental health professional; anyone who you can just share with that you have a need. Though hurting is often a place of despair and loneliness, remember that you live in a community filled with people who care. You live in a place where there are people who will fight with you and for you when you cannot.

My biggest concern right now is students because that is who I serve and am surrounded with, but my words apply to all of us regardless of age or situation. There are people who will stand with you when you cannot. I implore all of us, those needing help or not, to notice. TOGETHER we are strong.

Extremely concerned,

Nicole Rasmussen


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