In January and February of 2020, the Arredondo Family Foundation, the non-profit Carlos Arredondo and I started in 2015, was looking rosy. Work we had done since 2005 became an actual corporation and non-profit. The Foundation had money in the bank, there were training requests for both suicide prevention and mental health first aid. All looked well!
Until the rumbling started..The ground shaking and quickly turning to quick sand under my feet.
The news began talking about a flu killing people in the Wuhan province of China. Another news China stated it was already killing people in Washington state. Then there was word that a Chinese student in Boston had it (please note that this virus could have started anywhere and anyone can get it.) Right before St. Patrick’s Day, this virus now named Coronavirus shut down whole states and countries across Europe. I immediately applied to work with Partners in Health to work on this pandemic but was not called.
In August of this year, I finally was called and was hired and trained in early September. Though in the beginning learning Salesforce proved to be a challenge, by October I was in the swim of things. I only take inbound Spanish speaking calls. The pandemic is huge among Spanish speakers. I often have to have a gut check when it comes to how ignorant many are on understanding how to protect themselves from COVID. I have a background in public health and realize that there simply are not enough prevention and education efforts occurring for non English speakers in Massachusetts and to date, have been able to do anything about it.
12/19/2020 The holidays are tough.
I try to retain my God-spirit by noticing the joy I have had and continue to experience in life. Despite my Mother and stepson both dying during the holiday seasons, when I think of them both I smile. My Mother brought me up to see humor in the toughest situations. She had a spontaneous laugh that I also have. Those qualities help on a daily basis.
My stepson Brian had a beautiful smile that as the years went on came out less and less. When I witnessed the smile, it was one of those unexpected moments like catching an amazing sunrise. Both are forever my darlings who I speak with often during this time of year.
I have lost nine people due to COVID to my knowledge. This work is very personal to me. Remembering my adopted Jewish Mom Phyllis who died early in the pandemic and was a kindred spirit when it came to laughing and humor lifts my spirit and sparkles in my memory.