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Membership Monday: Tell us your COVID Story

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By: Trish Rafferty, CMP, HMCC | Jun 29, 2021

blog pic covid story

Tell us your “COVID Story.” Everyone has one and there is a commonality in talking but we knew that we have all been irrevocably changed by the unprecedented events of the past year.  I was excited for the opportunity to catch up and share experiences with our membership.  about our experiences.  This was the topic of our Monthly Membership Monday on June 14, 2021.  We didn’t know who would attend or what narratives we would hear,

We have been telling our stories through all of 2020 and the start of 2021 and I think we take comfort in sharing our feelings, fears, losses, and triumphs.  In a way it feels similar to 9-11 – everyone over the age of 25 can recount where they were on that fateful day.  This pandemic, however, was not one shocking day burned into our memories and the ensuing fall-out.  Instead it was 15 months of being glued to the news, cut off from our families and friends and anxious about what the future might hold.  It was a confusing, emotional time for us all.

By the time we had the meeting our country was starting to turn around and the tone of the conversation was upbeat.  We are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Day after day the news is more positive as numbers of infections, hospitalizations and deaths from the virus are steadily decreasing.   In tandem our industry is coming back to life with live meetings and travel and we seem to be getting back to some semblance of normal.  In our Membership Monday talk we shared news of new jobs, happy relocations, and other positive developments.  The participants were comforted by sharing what we had all been through and lessons learned. Each story was personal, but included lifestyle changes, first, middle, and lasting impressions and reflections on how we all made it through.  We shared more laughter than tears.  Emerging slowly from the pandemic we will continue to experience myriad emotions including regret, grief for what we lost and endured and ultimately relief as we look to the future.

blog pic covid story 2It is not my place to tell other’s individual stories, but I found it very cathartic to catch up with friends and colleagues and just talk about the year that was.  For myself I was fortunate to keep my job, but that good fortune came with a measure of “survivor’s guilt” and a nagging worry that my job could be eliminated at any time.  There was also apprehension about the health of family members and friends and a personal two-week bout with the virus.  I was much luckier than most experiencing a mild case, but it was an exhausting, scary, isolating time.  Afterwards, I was thrilled that I could donate convalescent plasma to help patients hospitalized with COVID; it was a huge boost to do something positive after feeling so helpless for so long.  Today I am happy to report that I am still working, face-to-face meetings are coming back, and I am seeing many of my industry peeps finding jobs and new opportunities.  Realizing that we have a long way to go toward a new post-pandemic normal and recognizing that many are still struggling, I am grateful for where I currently stand and the increasing good fortunes of my peers and our membership. 

Let’s keep the conversation going. I encourage others in our membership to share your stories with MPI-New Jersey.  You are welcome to reach out to me with tales to share or if you just want to talk.  I am confident that both myself and many of our members are ready and eager to listen. 

 

Author

Trish Rafferty Square 6-9-20
Trish Rafferty, CMP, HMCC
Meeting Event Manager at Maritz Global Events

 

 
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