Reflecting on the Pandemic Which Changed Our World
By: Amisha Singh, DDS
One year. It has been one year since I first went back to work after maternity leave. I left my daughter in my mom’s arms, hoisted the pumping bag over my shoulders and got ready for a new season. I was an experienced veteran of motherhood. After all, she was my third child. So, I knew the drill well. Little did I know, the drill was about to change. In fact, everything was about to change.
We all had plans in early 2020, each and every one of us. Some of us were preparing for new marketing to grow our practice to the next level or adding that extra operatory. Others were thinking of finally tackling that CE which we had been wanting to expand our scope of practice. Some thought about acquiring a practice and others thought about retiring. Our goals were varied but one thing was common… we were still flying high off the momentum of a new year and the vigor that comes with new beginnings and we all had a vision for what the new year and new decade were going to bring to our lives. And then, a metaphorical pebble dropped in a pond half an ocean away. The ripples from that pebble traveled far and wide. Some became waves. Lives were changed. Some lives were lost. And the world that we knew that we were accustomed to, transformed. We transformed right along with it.
One year later, as we look back, many emotions come to mind. The one which has been pulling my heart the hardest is grief and I want to take a moment to acknowledge and give space and respect to the grief which many of us have carried, perhaps silently, for the past year. I want to give gravity and dignity to the sadness we may have experienced. This sadness comes in many forms and there is no real way to compare one person’s grief to another. Grief is not meant to be compared but rather held. So here, we hold space for the grief for those who were lost … people who will linger like holes torn in the fabric of their loved ones lives. We hold space for the grief over loneliness, and fear, and uncertainty. But no matter how salient the emotion of grief is, there are others we must also acknowledge. No matter how challenging this year was, it brought growth into all of our lives and for that I carry immense gratitude. Gratitude for the time that we found, the precious moments with family and loved ones, the moments with ourselves which showed us that we are stronger than we know. I think back to being able to stay home with my daughter while still working, to nurse her and watch her grow. I think back to whipped lattes, Tiktok videos, drive-past birthdays and Zoom baby showers. I think back to how connected I felt to relatives living halfway across the world. For the first time, we shared a lived experience that was common across the globe. I carry gratitude for the ways we were able to find connection, for being united in a way that the world has perhaps never been before. I carry gratitude for the resiliency we developed and for the sympathy we cultivated, especially for working parents and children without reliable access to technology. I carry gratitude for the movements we created to bring voice to those who we had hurt, to lives that needed our dignity and respect. I carry gratitude for the reminder of the simple pleasures we hope we can integrate into our future safely – sipping on coffee while strolling through the mall, lunch with co-workers, a hug from a friend. I carry gratitude for the memories that we created, memories we will all carry in our hearts as we move into an uncertain yet hopeful future.
The last emotion I want to call out here is hope. I choose to lean into this hope which we have created. We have been given a unique opportunity where we will choose the new version of normal that comes next. Life has given us the gift of intention. So, as we go forward, I call our profession and our community to continue shining the light on the inequities and the travesties which have been unearthed. We see the problems now and we can create equitable solutions. We can choose what parts of our past we keep and what parts we will build into better versions of tomorrow. We can choose what our profession becomes for our communities. We can choose how we work with other medical professionals to build better health for all. We can choose who we decided to show up as individually to rebuild our world.
A pandemic came and changed our world. But it also changed us. It gave us insight and pause. No matter how different 2020 looked from what we imagined last January, let us collectively take a moment and a breath to give reverence to the beauty we inadvertently experienced and created. Let us lean into the gift this change gave us.
Amisha Singh, DDS is a Denver native and loves living in beautiful Colorado. She is an active member of the American Dental Association, Colorado Dental Association and Metro Denver Dental Society. She was recognized as one of the 2018 Top 10 Under 10 ADA Dentists nationally. She serves on the CDA House of Delegates, on the ADA Dental Wellbeing Advisory Committee and on the MDDS and CDA Membership Councils. She is also a blogger and professional speaker who works with IgniteDDS.