All Up in My Feels; A Thanksgiving Reflection of Gratitude and Grief

Photo Source: Anna Leary.

Kat Kelly – Today is Thanksgiving, 2020.

My family has been in quarantine from Covid-19 for 264 days. We have not done our own shopping. We have not eaten in a restaurant. We have not entered a store. We have delayed critical appointments in hopes of keeping our vulnerable selves protected. And also in hopes of ensuring we are not unknowingly spreading a dangerous virus to others.

Thanks to business evolution, we have lived a life of delivery and curbside. We have gotten home supplies, started (and ended) a venture into having goldfish – rest in peace little fishies – we balanced the water to a ‘t’ and they still didn’t make it. We have also gotten medicine, food, shoes, toys, birthday gifts, and a puppy – all while living from a distance.

We are lucky and thankful. I know many people are struggling right now. And today I felt the weight of all of it.

While I had the most beautiful day with my family, today waves of grief have begun crashing into me. As I sit and write this, I can’t quite articulate ‘why.’ And it was like nothing I have ever experienced.

So, in a time of intense isolation for so many of us, I wanted to write about these feelings so that maybe, just maybe, someone out there might feel not-so-alone.

For those of you who have read my rambles, you know I have never fully processed the loss of my brother, my mother, or my father. I have never allowed the grief to roll through me. No matter how much work I have done on myself, I have had to take this process in time.

This year has accentuated those losses and compounded them. I have lost other things that were important to me. I have said goodbye to freedom. I have not been able to travel for nine months. I have lost my autonomy. I have packed on more pounds – which was the antithesis of what I was supposed to be doing with my physical self (check my self isolation manifesto here and also my other content project, Leave it in the Rearview). Like so many other families, we are now homeschooling our children via Zoom (thank goodness for a cool school district and technology).

Compounding everything above, my already-divided given family has been shredded. The political climate between 2016 and 2020 became far more divisive and personal and dangerous for so many on the side of humanity. So many friends have also chosen a different path. We have learned that we have choices in what we will accept from those who claim to love us.

Finally, in the midst of a global pandemic, American society is more divided than it ever has been in my lifetime. In the name of “freedom” many in our communities refuse to wear masks and keep their distance. Frankly, it is traumatizing. It is preventing many of us from living even slightly out-of-the-boxes we have been in for 9 months.

“Just live your life. Don’t live in fear.” All of the anti-maskers are constantly criticizing those who are choosing to live cautiously. But, we are choosing to live cautiously to protect everyone.

The mind-numbingness of this time in American history is without description.

So, as I close out the day parked on my couch in my house full of love, I am still feeling the waves. While I have fought them for years, today I can’t stop them. And that has to be ok.

For whatever you may be feeling today and every day, you cannot always control when the things you have on the back burner need a little attention. Just keep stirring and know what you are feeling is right on time for you.

Take care of yourselves.


Kat Kelly is the founder of Vexteo and helping others share their goodness is one of her biggest passions in life.