Falling Through The Cracks

It’s easy to fall through the cracks during a worldwide pandemic. So much is based on the big picture. Governments move with the majority. Concerns are for the many. People in charge are responsible for overall numbers.

I’m worried about the ones that get lost. Sometimes they fall so far behind we forget they were even here.

When I tell people I’ve lost my day job and am having trouble paying rent the usual response is quick. “Well Trudeau announced that they have CERB, you can sign up for that.” “There’s rent money available.” “Have you gone to the bank?”

Do you really think I would lose my job and not hustle to source any available dollars out there to help? I know the advice is well meaning, but sometimes we need more than words.

Still, I fell through the cracks and then started to look around to see who was here with me.

It seems there are many of us.

And it’s not just on the financial side, but on every aspect of life. All the little details that keep the wheels turning are now misaligned. We are wavering. You are supposed to have back-up plans but really, who actually has them?

Luckily, most of us will pull through.

Then a ray of hope; almost a redemption. The spotlight turned and focused on our disadvantaged seniors. We can no longer deny they have been falling through the cracks long before COVID-19. Most of us have been ignoring them for years. These are the people without a voice and it’s easy to keep them quiet. Devastatingly easy.

If we learn one thing from this pandemic, let it be that we stop ignoring our compromised elders. Stop hiding them behind closed and locked doors.

Even if the spotlight focuses on the next tragedy, let’s not fall backwards and forget.

As the days and weeks and months of social change merge together, let’s take what we have learned and keep pushing to make things better. Let’s make amends.

This can’t happen again.

And as Desmond Tutu so wisely said, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.”

But for now…If you see someone falling through the cracks reach out and grab their hand.

Pull them back to the boat. Don’t let them drift away.

Today there are plenty of people putting on masks and gloves and holding many hands.

Tomorrow we’ll need to look around to make sure no one else is missing.

And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start filling those cracks so we don’t keep repeating the chaos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Than Sadness

My depression had been taking a respite for about 2.5 years. I knew it wasn’t gone but I was enjoying the vacation from the torment. I was enjoying the space to weather bad days without a wrecking ball crashing through. I was enjoying the quiet.

Then COVID-19 hit.

It brought along my depression.

The creep was slow but relentless. I watched the shadows appear. I felt the dread manifest. It was a constant drip that turned into a tsunami.

My trick is to stand away from myself and watch. This has pluses and minuses. It’s easier to meditate and practice non-attachment, but also tosses aside compassion for myself.

Finding the balance can save my life.

A little aside, I’m not writing this as a plea for help. That’s not the intent. My point is to remind everyone that we never know what’s going on inside someone’s head. You can see a smiling face and there are tears behind the mask. A mad growl can be hiding fear. We just never know. People lie all the time.

On a bad day last week I sent out a tweet as I headed out for a walk. Yes, sometimes I take my depression out for a walk. The tweet was offhand, sent without an agenda.

During that walk I thought nothing mattered anymore. Nothing. What was the use?

When I got back home I read the responses from the tweet and was floored.

There were over 11,000 impressions. Many direct messages. All unexpected.

The next morning I woke up and the depression was still hovering. Still there, but manageable. Still there, but set aside enough for me to get on with my day.

I’m sharing this story because everything matters. You matter. And clearly your actions matter.

It takes an army to keep depression at bay. You never know if you’re one of the soldiers that’s helping fight the fight and fortifying the defenses.

To all those people that liked the tweet, sent a note, even just took a second to read my words.

Thank you.

Everything matters and kindness can make the difference.

 

 

Timing is Everything

Timing is everything.

Photography is often finding the perfect moment to take the shot. A sunrise, a gesture, a wave on the ocean, a deserted bridge. Sometimes you have to be patient to wait for the moment and sometimes you turn around and there it is.

Life’s like that, timing is everything.

We can be running out of time and don’t even know it. Randomness can be in your favour, or not.

COVD-19 has that power. Maybe that’s what makes it so scary, we can’t see it, but we know it’s lurking.

The best advice I can give people these days is what I’ve always encouraged my clients to do. I’ve helped people that are terminally ill with their bucket lists. Then at some point, as we get closer to the end, a few things become inherently more important.

And what most often becomes critical? Have you said everything you want to say to those you hold dear?

The time comes to reach out and tell everyone you know how you feel about them. Pretend it’s the last time you’ll hold someone’s hand, hear their voice or see them smile.

It might be awkward as hell. We humans aren’t built to say the obvious. But just this once, for this moment in time, ignore the fear and just do it.

Living under this COVID-19 fog, we never know when the next hammer will drop. The best way to be prepared is to say the words before it’s too late…

Go make that call, write that note, compose the text, zoom away. And don’t forget the person sitting next to you. Tell them how much you care. Don’t wait. Do it today.

If you say those things now you’ll hold that picture in your heart and it will keep you warm.

Timing is everything. Too late is too late. Regrets can destroy you.

Words can be soul saving…

They are everything.

And the time is now.