We've all heard the phrase.. "Getting back to normal" And we have been hearing it a lot over the last year or so. 'Once it's under control, we can get back to normal'.. and so on and so forth.. What does it mean, exactly? Pre COVID normal? Is that even possible? Or will it be a new normal that we are trying to create in the ashes of this past year? It's a phrase that is meant to bring comfort. Designed to tell others that everything will be alright. I'll give you a personal example. My father passed away in June of last year. After being his carer and nurse in the last few years of his life as he slowly and painfully succumbed to cancer, as well as caring for my mother as she battled cancer as well, which caused dementia resulting in her having to be placed in a nursing home after a fall, and my own battles with the dreaded disease, sexual assault and a violent home invasion, people started telling me 'you can get back to normal'.. And I'm not going to lie. I have spent months trying to figure out what "getting back to normal" actually means for me. It's not bringing me comfort. It's causing an extreme level of stress for me. Because everything that I have known in my life, the staple figures of my life are disappearing. My father and my mother's memory and personality and who she is, have either gone or are in the process of leaving. I can't get back to that. What is my normal? Is it the one that I am now trying to live and survive without my father in my life and with my mother rapidly losing herself in a nursing home (and I am not going to lie, it is something that brings me to my knees on almost a daily basis when no one can see or hear me weep and scream internally), while trying to raise two boys who are now taller than I am? It's not something I'm getting back to. It's something new. Something completely foreign to me. To me, it's something I am moving toward and I have absolutely no idea of what it will be. In a general sense, during COVID, what does 'getting back to normal' even mean? The day we can have large gatherings without feeling concerned that the guy sitting a few rows ahead of us is coughing and feeling a sense of rage that he isn't wearing a damn mask, as one example? Will we ever get back to that? So, out of curiousity, what does "getting back to normal" mean to you?