A year ago I was the poster child for resilience. Media outlets looking for a happy story of strength and perseverance picked up and ran with “...and now I’m a farmer!” A quick turnaround from loss to new life to give people hope during dark days. A year later as this pandemic is rapidly morphing into something new I find myself on the couch feeling heavy and not up to my poster-child image.
In the early days of the pandemic I was fuelled by adrenaline. The shock of the loss, the panic to figure out how to survive and my ever-present problem solving response took over and helped me make a new plan and forge ahead. Now almost two years in, the buried feelings are emerging as I watch other restaurant owners facing the prospect that I faced, making very hard decisions, and wanting to hold tight to their staff. I feel their pain and anxiety deep within myself.
The resilience story line glosses over those hard parts. To be demonstrating residence you have to have suffered much loss and hardship. And as for all grief, the path of recovery is not linear. Some days surrounded by seed catalogues and immersed in plans for this year’s flower fields and veggie crops I am energized and excited. Others the couch wants to consume me as I scroll endlessly through social media feeds offering glimpses of other lives and worlds I feel so cut off from.
I do want my story to give people hope and suggest the possibility of bouncing back from adversity into a new, unexpected and meaningful life. We are all struggling one way or another as the pandemic drags on. The isolation and loneliness I feel is shared by many, some suffering far more profoundly. If strength is to come from suffering I think we need to acknowledge the hard parts for what they are - not deviations from our path of resilience but necessary steps to be traversed with care and attention.
This spring I will plant more seeds. I’ll watch them grow every day. I’ll marvel at how nature wants to live, pushing the littlest green sprouts to withstand the winds, rain and scorching sun. And sometimes I’ll find weeds taking over, seemingly overnight trying to push the little seedlings down. I’ll help the seedlings out, clearing space for them to grow. But I’ll leave some weeds to flourish and admire them for their persistence too.