When I last wrote an update on my blog I shared news about life changes in the Himmelstein household and described how I was looking forward to making deliberate decisions about our future. Little did I know how the world was going to change between then and now.
The impact of COVID-19 on our lives has been profound. We were in Houston at the start of the dudes Spring Break at the Rodeo when the Mayor shut it down. We came home to San Antonio and the city started to go on lockdown. The school district shutdown the schools and the dudes did not go back after Spring Break. We celebrated my birthday on the back deck with takeout in a socially distanced way with my Parents but we had decided that we wouldn’t even hug because of the potential risks.
The next morning I accepted an offer for employment knowing that my on-boarding would be 100% remote and the beginning of this new career path would be a trailblazing experience not only for me as an employee, but for the company as it transitioned from an in-person world to being remote.
That same night my Bubby passed away. While it wasn’t a shock we had to come to grips with the fact that we were not going to be able to be in person to bury her or mourn her passing in the way that our faith has always prescribed.
We attended her funeral virtually and were able to gather as a family nightly to take part in services so that we could collectively say the Mourner’s Kaddish. I started my new career with EY the next day as a Senior Manager in Financial Services Tax Technology and Transformation.
I know life is a crazy ride sometimes, but everything I just told you about happened in the span of 12 days. My on boarding at EY was a blur and I immediately got right to work. It has been just over 3 months now and I am loving what I am doing, architecting Power Platform & Collaboration solutions for our customers. I have an amazing team of people that I get to work with on a day to day basis and we are coming up with amazing ways to modernize traditional business processes using the latest and greatest technology.
The world has been upside-down for all of 2020, but there have been a few bright spots. The pain that we are feeling from isolation, racism, personal loss, and the toxic politics have just compounded the situation. We strive to make the best of all of things and I am proud that I joined a company that has taken a hard line anti-racism stance. It feels right to be a part of discussions that aren’t comfortable right now and learning how to get comfortable being uncomfortable. Sounds very paradoxical, but it is what is needed right now.
I spend time listening to people’s experiences, their pain over the systemic problems in our society, and their ideas for how we can try to change the world. I am trying to digest what I hear and ask questions so that I can try to be a part of a solution rather than perpetuating the problem with my own ignorance.
Before 2020 we never sat down with our Dudes (how I refer to my sons in the plural) and talked about politics, current events, or racial issues. For years I have abhorred the US News media because of their unbalanced story telling and lack of truth. I refused to watch the News on TV because of this, but since the murder of George Floyd & the way that our Mayor & County judge have handled the pandemic updates we are watching daily. We are talking to the Dudes about what has happened and what is happening.
We are seeing the world change in front of our eyes and struggling daily with how best to handle it. I know that sitting silently and not talking about what is going is not something that I am going to do any longer. I don’t need to hold a picket sign and march to make a difference. I am going to make sure that I raise the next generation of my family to be Dugmaot (role models in hebrew) and good human beings that care for others.
This brings me to tomorrow. Poppa’s Yartzeit (anniversary of his death) is on Monday, so my father & uncles decided to do an Unveiling for both Bubby & Poppa together. If you are wondering what these things are you can read up on them here: https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/the-tombstone-the-unveiling-and-visiting-the-grave/. Unfortunately because of COVID-19 we will not be attending in person, but will be able to witness the ceremony remotely. It is a reflective evening as I think back on the lives of my Grandparents.
One thing that the Dudes always loved about going to visit GG (what they called my Bubby) & Poppa was that during the visit we would eventually go out in the back of the house and Poppa would take the Dudes fishing. They have been asking when we could go fishing for a few months now, knowing that Poppa had sent me home from one of our many visits with fishing gear. We are going to a lake this coming week to do some fishing to honor Poppa & Bubby’s memory. Ok… more Poppa’s memory than Bubby’s because she was never a fan of fishing, but she did love her Fisherman.
I took Max with me today when I needed to get some of the supplies for the trip and we had a conversation with my Mom. She was going through and watching old reel to reel movies from her parents and we ended up mentioning inheritance. After we got off the phone I explained to Max that I used to tell my Grandparents, as I tell my Parents still to this day, that I want them to spend every last cent they have having adventures and making memories with us. Max looked at me and said “I would rather have a pile of memories as my inheritance than a pile of money any day”.
Isolation sucks. As you can tell from the above craziness that has been 2020 we have missed out on so very much this year because of the risks associate with the virus. At the end of the day we are doing what we need to in order to keep safe and healthy, but I keep coming back to a comment my Mom always makes to me when I am leaving to go anywhere that I am driving away from her. She always says “Drive safe.” to which I respond “I always do” and she says “it’s not you I’m really worried about, its all the crazies you will be sharing the road with that make me worry.” There are tons of memes out there around life in the time of COVID-19 but the simple statement that I hope people keep in mind that reminds me of that frequent conversation with Mom: If you hate wearing a mask, you are really not going to like the ventilator. If not for yourself, do for those that you share the world with, you self-centered narcissistic asshole. (I may have added that last line myself)
I recognize that this post is long, rambling, and likely doesn’t make a ton of sense. Let’s see if I can sum it up: Standing by in silence with what is happening in today’s world is failing. Even though we remain in isolation we are still doing what we can to educate ourselves, help others, and bring light into the world. My grandparents left behind a wonderful legacy and I intend to make sure that it lives on to do good in the world for a long time to come.
That’s all for tonight. Stay safe, stay healthy, and wear a mask.