Saying Goodbye: Navigating Pandemic Changes

Right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, just over 3 years ago, my husband made the decision to stop working at his dad’s IT business and applied to as many jobs as he possibly could. The jobs were located in many different states all over the country (one job was even located in Italy). For a lot of young couples, this would be an exciting and thrilling time, and eventually, it was, but at first, the idea of moving away from ALL of our closest friends and family was frightening. Mind you, I also had a 2-year-old and was expecting our second baby. I thought a lot about saying goodbye to all of my help—both mental and physical.

What Changed My Mind:

At first, I was fearful and reluctant because I couldn’t envision going a week without seeing my Mom and Gram Gram. My heart slowly began to change the more I thought about the prospect of possibly moving away. I realized I was thinking about ME, not US. Us as a married unit. We spent a lot of time with other people, but often forgot about one another, and this was starting to create a strain on our marriage. Moving away from everyone would mean that we would have to rely more heavily on one another instead of others.

When COVID Stole My Safe Place:

Job offered. We were headed to Virginia! A new state, a new landscape, new cuisine, new culture, and new friends? This was going to be so new and exciting! In many ways, it was all very exciting. I got the new title of stay-at-home mom, and my husband got to work for a new place, which was a pretty big deal since he had been working for his Dad since he was ten.

The only part that was not so thrilling was meeting new friends. We got involved with a church right away with the hopes of meeting new people, but at that time, churches implemented mandates, like almost all places did. Church has been my safe place. I go for socialization and deep meaningful friendships, but the pandemic stole that when we couldn’t come within 6 feet of one another or even smile at one another while wearing masks.

How Technology Helped:

When it came to calling my loved ones and friends back in Jersey, I was so grateful for the traditional voice call and even the more modern FaceTime. FaceTime allowed me to see their faces and gave the closest feel to what would have been an in-person conversation. It also allowed me to see their smiles and see how much they missed us and cared for us. It’s one of the things that helped me through this new life transition. Phone calls, FaceTime, and personal prayer time while savoring a piece of chocolate cake at a local Italian restaurant were my new safe place.

How Technology Hurt:

While I was able to call family and friends back home, meeting friends in my new state was close to impossible. Even the mom group I had joined remained virtual, and the large group of faces on the screen made it feel uncomfortable to have any sort of personal conversation. I was missing out on the ability to make new friends in my area. What I had desired was something more like a friend finder app that would allow me to make connections with other moms who had similar interests and hobbies all from the phone, as there weren’t any in-person options at the time. People I could trust if I could see their face and have one-on-one conversations with them. This would have been the most ideal situation.

In the end, I felt mostly isolated for about 2 years as I waited for mandates to slowly be lifted. It was a challenging time in my motherhood journey, but I know that this was a challenging time for so many. People are still feeling the isolation effect of the pandemic, but I am thankful that the pandemic awakened new ideas for people to make friendships if something like this were to happen again and even as a solution to what is currently happening as a result of the disconnection that occurred during COVID-19.

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