Been through it all

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Been through it all

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I got married on April 4, 2020. We had planned 125 guests. I was so excited to celebrate with everyone. I remember hearing about covid in China in February and thinking that it was so far away I shouldn't worry. While my daughter was on Spring break everything started shutting down. At first it seemed temporary. Like it would just be a week or two. Just until things died down. Then local governments started getting strict as it became apparent how dangerous covid was. As the rules changed, I had to send apologetic emails disinviting guests due to limits on gatherings. We went from 125 to 100. Then it went to 75, 50, and 25. Each time it was agonizing figuring out who would be cut from our wedding. Finally it came down to just our parents, the pastor and his family, and the photographer. I got my wedding dress back from alterations the day the shop closed down to the public. We had the wedding in my parents' backyard. The pastor's children played guitar and sang. Our honeymoon was canceled a few days before the wedding because the small county in the mountains wasn't letting anyone in who wasn't local. We had a staycation for a honeymoon and played video games together. 

We are a blended family. I often tell people we got married at the beginning of the pandemic. It was like "Congratulations on your new sister! You'll be with her 24/7 and never get away from her!" They quickly became sisters. They were each other's only playmate. At the same time they irritated each other just like normal siblings. It bonded them as sisters. It was hard for us when my step-daughter started kindergarten in the fall and my daughter started 2nd grade. We had alarms going off all day to try to manage their classroom google calls while my husband and I attempted to work from home. It was very stressful. 

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2020. At times they refused to allow my dad to accompany her to appointments. She was found crying in a hallway unable to get to the correct room. It was awful. I had to be so careful as my kids started hybrid school to not get her sick. It was hard to balance my kids' need for some stability and trying to be with my mom as much as possible. We made the decision to try for another child so my mom had the best chance at meeting her grandchild. I got to share my positive pregnancy test while visiting. It was such a happy moment in the midst of so much sadness.

Adding to that stress was a difficult custody battle over my daughter. We couldn't have extra people at court to support me. My husband had to leave early to get the kids from school. Being left at the courthouse after testifying about how my ex abused me was one of the loneliest moments of my life. I had to take a Lyft ride back home and try not to break down in a stanger's car.

My mother's condition got worse quickly. We were able to have a family reunion in June. I was nervous about so many people traveling in, but we needed to have mom see family again before something happened. My mom was admitted to the hospital at the beginning of July. I couldn't visit her because of being pregnant and the risk was too high to go to a hospital. My mom and dad supported this and wanted me to keep the baby safe. I had to record a goodbye message to play for her when she was awake. My mom passed on July 5th, 2021. Even at the funeral, I stayed in a separate room and had a friend read the eulogy remarks I prepared. 

I had my youngest daughter in February 2022. We were limited on visitors, so only my husband and dad came to the hospital. So many day cares closed in the pandemic, we had a very difficult time finding child care. Despite getting on the list in early pregnancy, we couldn't start at day care until September. We had to use social media to find part time nannies and alter our work hours to cover child care until she could start day care. She actually just tested positive for covid yesterday after another child at daycare was positive earlier in the week. Thankfully she's vaccinated. 

I've been through so much since the pandemic. I'm thankful for what I have, I crave rest. I'm worn out. I lost so much. No bridal shower. No honeymoon. No baby shower. No support for happy and sad moments. It's been really hard.

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This item was submitted on December 17, 2022 by Ashley H using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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