Last week, I was in a daze—a Category 5 hurricane hit the island of St. John and I couldn’t get in touch with my dad.
I had no idea if he was alive, had food or water or a house, how his friends were, and, most importantly, how to help. Everything was unsettled and scary.
But my kids still had to go to school. Groceries had to be bought. My son was celebrating his fifth birthday. Life still happens—whether we’re in the mood for it or not.
As it turned out, my dad was okay. This was a gentle reminder though that we never know what someone is going through: their marriage could be falling apart, they could have a sick parent, or be struggling with an illness we can’t see.
For me, it felt so strange to be doing mundane life tasks with these ever-looping thoughts about my dad racing through my brain. Making small talk at school pick-up felt like a huge feat. Not crying when someone asked how my day was at the checkout line was harder. Everything felt bigger and tougher than normal.
I also get that people have been through worse. Some people have actually lost their parents. People who live with depression or mental illness may feel like this a lot of the time. It’s a hard place to be, but we will all be in these situations from time to time.
My words of wisdom in these times are simple: be kind.
Be kind to everyone. Be kind as much as possible.
We never fully know what others are going through, and we’re all going through some sh*t. When my life is fine, I tend to assume that everyone else’s is as well. I forget that the universe doesn’t hand out “Oh f*ck” cards all at the same time.
So, when someone needs extra support or is a little distant or a bit of an a**hole, remember they might be going through something unsettling, something scary.
And remember the acts of kindness that were shown to you, in your moments. I had so many people—people I didn’t know—reach out and try to help put me in touch with my dad. So many people donated to the St. John Rescue fund.
There are good people all around us and great acts of kindness in these moments. As Mr. Rogers once said so beautifully, “Look for the helpers.”
I promise, they are there.
Author: Deirdre Londergan
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
Social Editor: Callie Rushton