• Jacqui Chiari

The Last Two Months: My Pandemic Update

I'm sitting at my work computer, trying to figure out where to even begin. As soon as I opened up this page to begin writing, I felt the heaviness of the past two months nearly paralyze my body. I thought I'd ridden emotional roller coasters before - and I have - but none quite like this. Fear, frustration, calm, joy, gratitude, love, grief, sadness, pride, hope, contentment, rage, anxiety, connection, peace, exhaustion, incredulity, defeat. All felt in the the past two months. In single weeks. Single days. Single breaths.

It's been a fucking wild ride, to say the least. And it's not over. But I can't worry or speculate about what I can't control. So I just want to share what my experience has been like the past couple months. Just to share. Just to get it off my chest. And to give y'all and update, since there are some things I haven't shared with very many people.

I guess the shit storm started for me on March 17. I work in the housing department of a university and we had just opened an application for students who needed to stay in their residence halls for the remainder of the semester, even though classes had been moved online. Over 400 students applied and I was asked to help process each of them individually. I had gone into work that morning at 8:30am and didn't leave till about 9:30 that night. That was a hard day. Not just because of the hours, but because I came face to face with the fact that so many of our students do not have physically, emotionally, or technologically safe, functioning, or healthy homes to go to when they leave campus. And I was part of a team that was deciding whether or not their situation was "bad enough" to let them stay on campus. It fucking sucked.

The rest of that week, we prepped for move-out, and then I worked on-campus every day until April 5 (aka three weeks straight). Super fun and not exhausting at all! But, hey, I made overtime so I was happy about that.

During that time, I received news that my grandma, Abuela Celina (my dad's mom), who had been living in a nursing home in Northern New Jersey for the past four years with severely advanced dementia, was taken to the hospital for running a fever and difficulty breathing. The results took a while to come back, but she tested positive for COVID-19. She was in the hospital for maybe a week or two, and was actually doing really well at one point. But she took a turn for the worse and was transitioned into hospice care and moved back to her nursing home. She was there less than 24 hours before passing on the morning of April 7.

With her dementia, she had regressed to an infant-like state. She could no longer hold a conversation, form full sentences, or really communicate anymore. She didn't remember anyone in our family. So we said goodbye to her - her soul, her spirit - a long time ago. There's still grief. But there's also comfort, knowing she's at peace now and reunited with my grandfather.

The next day, Daniel was laid off from his job. That fucking sucked too. Even through that, though, I had (and still have) a deep knowing that we are going to be okay. Part of it is truly knowing that we will never be homeless, and we will never go hungry. A literal apocalypse would have to happen first. We are fortunate, privileged, and blessed enough to have that safety net.

And he's already a finalist for new job, so we're super excited about this potential new opportunity, and will of course keep y'all updated as we're able to!

I was working from home from April 6 through the 17th, then returned to campus on the 20th to process all the room keys that had been returned during move-out and by mail a few weeks prior. I was working with my hands, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, staring at a computer screen clicking the same things over and over again every day for 8 hours straight. My hands, back, and eyes were sore as fuck.

On April 24, it was the 19th anniversary of my first grade teacher, Miss Kelly Driscoll, passing away. I also realized that I'm the same age, 26, she was when she passed away. April 24 is usually a bad day for me, but realizing this just fucked me up on a whole new level. I know I still have a lot of healing to do around this; I know I'm just not there yet. But I still wanted to share because you all deserve the complete picture of who I am, not just the shiny, pretty parts I'd prefer you to see.

From May 6 to 22, I was working from home. It's the tits. I really really love working from home and I am very excited for the day it becomes a permanent part of my life. I came back to work on campus today for another round of move-outs through the end of the month, but I won't be working overtime, so I'll have some time off on week days to flex out my time and make up for having to work on Memorial Day. Daniel and I are planning a full beach day next Tuesday and I'm so excited.

Overall, I feel like I've settled pretty well into this "new normal." The past two months have definitely been a roller coaster, but now it feels more like a wave I'm just riding. Or maybe even a lazy river, since I don't feel like I'm bracing myself for a crash or anything. Why does it feel like I'm talking about an amusement park?? Anyway, just taking it one day at a time, and facing whatever comes my way.

And I'm super excited about the things coming my way - June is about to be LIT.

On June 1, the wait list opens up to work with me as one of my two required KonMari Consultant Certification clients.

On June 6, my friend Xiaopan and I are hosting the first community call for our series, Money: More Than A Mindset.

June 15 through 17, I'm attending the virtual KonMari Consultant Certification Seminar.

The following weekend (exact dates TBD), I'll be flying out to Southern California to help my friend move back to Florida. We're road-tripping across the US!!!

And then I get to see my family the weekend of June 27! My aunt, uncle, and cousins moved to North Carolina last year and just moved in to their new house, and my mom, brother, and sister are coming down from New Jersey for the weekend. I haven't seen them since Christmas and I'm really missing them. It'll be so good to spend time with them.

Well, y'all, that's all I have for now. As always, I appreciate you being here and joining me in this journey. I'd love to hear how you're doing and what your experience had been like the past couple months. Whatever it's been like for you, good things are on the horizon, I know it. Be well.

Stay Wandering,


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