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Being Part of a Community

When I was a kid, I can remember everyone getting together for dinners, cookouts, whatever. Now, it seems like we don't do that anymore. I don't think this is a result of Covid, because I remember experiencing this over 10 years ago. I lived in Northern Virginia with my then husband. Neighbors didn't wave to each other, or check on each other.

I thought at the time, that was just an area-wide issue because when I moved back to Roanoke, VA to the same house and neighborhood I grew up in, I had instant friends, where I had none in Northern Virginia. However, I realized that neighbors would not check on you, or lend a hand. As I talked to more people around the world, I realized that this was not an area-wide phenomenon, but a world-wide phenomenon.

This became clear when I became a caregiver. Being a caregiver is a hard job. It touches the emotional, physical, and psychological areas. There were times when we were struggling with dad (which may have been partially out of denial of what was going on with him) and people would see us struggle and just walk by. We even went to a doctor for the covid vaccine (which was an hour away from our home). We asked for assistance and the staff came out to the truck to judge, not assist. When we finally met with the doctor through Telemedicine, he excused his staff's treatment of us, instead of validating our experiences and feelings. They said that they couldn't help because of liability reasons. I know we are living in a society that is all about legality, but where is compassion? Why not say, "I realize you are struggling. We can't help because of liability reasons, but here is a resource or person that can help."

I have been working at a local wine store called Gladheart Wine & Brews Before I started working there, I was a customer. When my dad passed away, I knew I need a job in person where I could learn and have fun. The owners, Phillip and Jason provided that for me. It may not be a high paying job or a lot of hours, but it is the best job I have had in a long time. Sadly, because of how things slow down after the holidays, I will not be working there, until they need me again. A few weeks ago, I was working the weekly tasting that also included the music of Kinnfolk . I had had a tough day and Jason sensed it and offered to let me go home. I told him no...that being there was therapy for me. I was basically just washing dishes and keeping the wines stocked. But I noticed that people were hanging out way past closing time, having a good time, and being a community. Check out this Instagram post of Jason, Phillip, and Kinnfolk on that night. Thank you Jason and Phillip and the rest of the Gladheart family for including me in this amazing community!

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