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2021 Oct

Thanks for Caring

Here’s why we should strive to brighten someone’s day.

Last month my family gathered to say farewell to our mother and brother. Mom passed away in early 2020, and Tim died in May of this year. It’s never easy to say goodbye, but being together helped us find closure and healing.

Many of us have lost loved ones throughout this sad pandemic time. While COVID wasn’t the cause of either my mom’s or brother’s deaths, I’m sure it contributed. In my mom’s case, the loneliness and isolation she faced while in her retirement community caused her to become depressed. She stopped eating, and that was the beginning of the end. She lived a long, full life, and I’m grateful her death was quick and painless.

My brother’s was different. COVID also caused him to become depressed and isolated, which led to a mental health crisis. Combine that with substance abuse, and his body couldn’t cope. He finally succumbed, and all of us feel guilty that we weren’t able to prevent his death, even though we tried. Our only solace is that he is finally at peace.

I’m sorry to be sharing these personal stories, but I want to encourage you to reach out to people in your circles, in your neighborhood, and at work to offer an encouraging word. Spend time in conversation with someone you know who seems lonely and could use a friend. We all benefit from encouraging words at times, so make someone’s day brighter by being a friend. Thanks for caring.

If you are feeling sad and depressed and can’t seem to find joy in your daily life, find someone to talk to. Every city has hotlines you can call to get help, along with resources to help you cope during this difficult time. Here are a few numbers I found on NAMI Coastal Virginia’s website:

Emergency Services/Intake (24 hours a day)

If unsure where to call, begin here for referrals:
Chesapeake: 757-548-7000
Norfolk: 757-664-7960
Portsmouth: 757-393-8990
Suffolk/Isle of Wight: 757-925-2484
Virginia Beach: 757-385-0888
Eastern Shore: 757-442-8807
Military and Veterans: 800-273-8255
TAPS 24/7 Hotline: 800-959-TAPS (9277)

Crisis Textline

Safely and confidentially connect with a live, trained crisis counselor for free 24/7 support
Text NAMI or HOME to 741-741

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Providing 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 800-273-8255

Wishing you all good mental health in the coming months. Keep the faith.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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