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Naomi Toh

Counsellor

Dear COVID-19, I have such mixed feelings about you. I wish you could dissipate as swiftly as you came into this world but at the same time, you came to illuminate darkness and you revealed them in the rawest forms possible. The fear gripped the world and the anxiety that chained many down was propelled by you. You highlighted many social issues which would have otherwise remained hidden and silent. I don’t really know how I should feel about you but I trust that you came at the right time in the right season. You swept into our lives without much warning. You brought along disturbing uncertainty and where there is uncertainty, there is room for mistrust to breed. You completely messed up our boundaries, be it physical or emotional ones. You robbed our sense of control and demanded for us to relearn and rethink our habits. You were like an alarm that blared into the silence and raided our safe space. You whispered your own announcement and embarked on your merciless journey throughout the world. While there is deep pain and suffering; sorrow and grief that is overwhelming this world, my heart is full with hope and love as I have witnessed the kindness and goodness that has overflowed from many in this season. For once, I am no longer stingy with my grip on money. As I learnt to give of love, I received so much more than I could even imagine. I found new ways of connecting and reaching out. I started off 2020 thinking that this year will be the year of renewal but it has turned out to be a year of rededication and breakthrough in many areas of my life. While you chose to be destructive and disruptive, I have learnt new ways of managing you. I have learnt to draw closer to my family, my husband and my clinical work. I have learnt to draw closer to humans. On a daily basis, I am close to grief, sorrow and death as I lend my ears and heart to my clients. It breaks my heart when I hear of stories that are unimaginable and shakes my inner core deeply. While you lack mercy, we showed mercy to ourselves and to others. Hope never left and is always in the midst as I heard the voices of strength, courage and so much grit in these same stories shared with me. Someone said this recently, “Do not confuse my bad days as my weakness. Those are actually the days I am fighting my hardest.” We judge so ever often. I judge in my conscious and subconscious mind. In this season, I have learnt what it means to be vulnerable, to dig deep in conversations with my friends and to revive my heart for the younger generation. As I step into thirties, I am accompanied with your remnants but it’s a strange feeling…I’m glad you came as along with you, faith, hope and love came in full force. And I’m sorry to say to you, there’s no way you can stop these three things as they will remain long after you depart. And the greatest of all is love. You have changed me from within. Thanks for the ride, Naomi #DearCovid19SG