Right before the pandemic hit, I lost my father in January 2020, and my mother in May. Both were already dying from non-COVID causes, but Mom ended up contracting COVID on her way out. I’m an only child, and their loss hit me at the core of my being. I’ve never felt so alone, afraid, and hopeless.

After their death, were the darkest days of my life. I couldn’t sleep, eat, or think. I had terrible dreams, off-the-charts anxiety, and unbearable grief. I’m a life coach, and had zero strength to work with my clients. The trauma of losing my parents, combined with the fear of the pandemic, was unrelenting.

I thought it would be like this forever. I was convinced things would never improve, and my fragile emotional state was permanent. I feared this was my new normal. I thought the dawn would never come, but as I write this, I can see it’s getting lighter.

If I could give my pre-pandemic self advice, it would be “Hang in there, things are going to get better,” and I’d say it over and over and over again until I believed it.

I’d also tell myself that I’ll come out of this stronger, wiser, and more resilient. And after I told myself that, I’d tell everybody else the same thing. You will come out of this stronger, wiser, and more resilient, so hang in there. Things are going to get better.