Personally, 2021 is a special year. I’d been looking forward to celebrating many milestones with my nearest and dearest. Last month, my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My brother-in-law turned 50 a few weeks ago. Next week, it will officially be 10 years since we moved to the United States, and in June, my husband and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. So many milestones and so much to celebrate. What we hadn’t envisioned was how many of these celebrations would need to be curtailed or postponed. Mixed in with all of this, of course, is the anniversary of the global pandemic.

With all of this, I’m feeling a mixture of grief and gratitude – both in overwhelming proportions. I’m imagining that this is true for many of our HERD members too. These waves of grief and gratitude that exist simultaneously for all that we’ve lost collectively and all that we can still feel blessings from. And now, with the vaccination roll outs that are under way, the beginnings of a glimmer of hope for reconnecting where possible with those we’ve missed during this past year. My heart feels wide open and full and empty and forlorn. Both/And.

So, as we move forward one step at a time, I urge you to take care of yourselves and each other, now more than ever before. Because the burn out that I am witnessing in myself, our students, graduates, and community members tells me that so many of us have spent this past year attending to those who’ve needed us more. Compassion fatigue is setting in just as the world begins to open back up. I’m certainly learning to be clearer about my intentions with what I take on board, what boundaries I need to hold, and what support I need in order to stay upright. I am not ashamed to say that I am exhausted and weary and am intentionally taking more time to re-center, ground, and find support from those I have learned to lean on in these times.

From the deep, deep wells of my grief and gratitude, my heart is with you all as we continue to navigate what’s next. May you find grace, compassion, and joy until we meet again!

Warmly,

Veronica Lac
Executive Director