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2020, I’m Talking to You

Submitted to the Wilson Times by: Michael Croitoru


Over the past year, each and every person we know has been faced with one common threat, COVID-19. In 2020, we feared for our lives, feared for our children, feared for our community and feared for our futures.

As a father, husband, social worker and leader in behavioral health, I was also afraid. My biggest fear was that I could not protect the people I loved from something that was invisible. Sometimes it was even hard to believe it existed. We each have a unique, life-changing story to tell based on all of the challenges we faced together.

The question is: what did 2020 mean to you? What did you feel? Who supported you when you needed to talk? Which tools did you use to release your stress?

2020 was a year of extreme pain, suffering and feeling overwhelmed with no end in sight. We fought COVID-19 together, but from a distance. We each battled for our lives by making difficult choices that would allow us and the people of our community to stay safe. Each member of our communities made extreme sacrifices and had to forfeit holidays, gatherings, weddings, funerals and hospital visits for their sick family and friends. Our communities postponed Vesak Day, Ash Wednesday, Thanksgiving, Yom Kippur, Christmas, Ramadan, Diwali and Memorial of Christ’s Death.

The questions that remain are both big and small. What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Who can I talk to? And the biggest questions of all, am I OK? Do you as a person have what you need to continue to walk forward? Do you have food, clothing, a home, and are you safe? Do you have what you need to stay focused, emotionally stable and capable of bouncing back when challenges are placed in your path? Maybe, maybe not?

We may not all recover the same way or at the same pace, but one idea holds true — we will all recover in time. This last year was a year that further defined us as people. Our strengths became stronger, our minds became wiser and our hope and belief in our ability to presevere deepened.

My questions to you are: what is your silver lining? What have you learned about yourself, who you are and what you are capable of? When the world around you started to fall apart, what did you do to protect yourself and your loved ones and others in your community?

We left 2020 with a better understanding of who we love, what we value most and who we can trust and rely on. We saw the best in people and how they can come together to fight and, in 2021, begin to win. As our winter feelings begin to fade and we march toward spring, new hope is in sight.

As the seasons change, new life will emerge. The trees will begin to grow new leaves, the grass and flowers will bloom and the nature around us will show us how each year it rejoices in the spring and celebrates the warm weather and sun.

2021 will be your year to take back control of your life, your city and your world. This is your year to celebrate and remember who you are, and it’s a new opportunity to live your best life.

Michael Croitoru, Zebulon The writer is director of behavioral health at Wilson Medical Center.

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