A Juggling Act – and Survivors Guilt

Dear Diary,

I am included in the definition of “non-traditional student” as I work full-time while going to school and care for children at home. Under ordinary circumstances, it is a lot to juggle while being a student. When one of the many balls in my juggling act drops, it can cause disruption, but usually only temporarily until I pick it back up again. That delicate balancing act that keeps the balls up in the air usually is quick to resume when given time. 2020 has involved juggling a lot of new balls – a whole lot of them. I lost a loved one earlier this year very unexpectedly, experienced the devastation of the 50-mile tornados that tore through Tennessee in March living less than 2 miles from the path and with several in my close circles losing homes, schools, and businesses, and then of course the COVID-19 pandemic that quickly followed, creating disruptions for all of the society including students working so hard to further their education. All of this happened in a 3 month period! Each of these situations have given me new balls to juggle, trying to assist where I am needed through financial support, boots-on-the-ground manual labor, emotional support, being a morale booster and problem-solver, and more. In each situation, I have experienced a form of “survivor’s guilt” as so many have it worse than I do and I wonder why I was spared from major damage the tornados brought to so many. Why my loved one had to die so early yet here I am. Why so many have lost their livelihood yet I am still fortunate enough to continue mine, albeit quite differently. Then I think about how I was given the blessing of being that go-to person in each of these situations for somebody out there that desperately needed help keeping their balls in the air. While it is still very stressful, I am grateful to have the opportunity to balance those balls and be a blessing to other people when they need it most. Being a student, that ball has been easier to keep in the air thanks for supportive teachers and the university. I know they have their own balls they are juggling, just like me. I hope that my thoughts, prayers, and actions have helped others keep their own balls in the air, as we all are trying our best to get through this life. Throughout all of these unfortunate events, I have been able to get past the “survivors guilt” and put that energy towards helping those who really need it.