The “Back to Center” advice column provides perspectives for personal realignment and empowered living in the COVID era. Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice about self-development and emotional & mental well-being in these complicated times. Please send your questions to email@example.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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My son's university required shots or tests several times a week…If one [in the pool of students] tested positive, EVERYONE had to be quarantined. So, I told the Dean and their health department this protocol was abusive, and I even sent them copies of studies. I was prepared to have a lawyer fight for my son. However, [my son] has completely disowned me because of this. I haven't seen him in over a year and no communication since July. I can only assume he caved to these monsters…How do I repair this relationship or accept that I may never see my son again?
What a painful story. Your deep love for and commitment to your son is so strong. You seem like an amazing mother, and I’m sorry for the pain you’re going through in your disconnection from him.
The first thing I want to tell you is that as far as I can tell from what you shared, you did nothing wrong here. In fact, you did so much that was right. It is a mother’s job to protect her children, to stand up and fight fiercely for them when their safety and well-being are threatened! You did exactly that for your son and should feel so proud of yourself! I’m sorry he didn’t see the value of what you were doing for him.
It sounds like you have made numerous attempts to contact your son since he cut off communication with you, all to no avail. You have tried from your side to reconnect and repair the relationship. What now?
I’d like to suggest that it may be time to let go.
What do I mean by “let go”? To acknowledge to yourself that you have done all you can for now. To accept that your son is making a decision that you have no control over. To release any feelings of guilt or responsibility for his decision that you may be carrying with you. To relinquish any attempts to control the outcome of the situation.
Letting go is not giving up on the hope of repairing your relationship with your son. It’s about stepping back, giving space, and allowing time to hopefully bring some healing on its own.
As the COVID story goes on, things are constantly shifting and changing. More and more truth is emerging, and more and more people like you are standing up and refusing to be controlled. With time, it may very well be that your son will see and understand what you did for him, and that your actions were motivated only by love and concern.
I can imagine it must seem like decades since you last spoke with your son, and to hear someone say “give it time” may be hard to take. But giving your son time and space to work through his side of the issue may be just what is needed for the relationship to eventually be repaired. Don’t give up. Breathe and stay open to the possibility of reconciliation.
And while you are breathing and staying open, know that there is an opportunity waiting for you inside of your pain. How could you possibly channel that pain into purpose? Look around: Who else in your life is experiencing pain, and how might you be able to help them because you know pain yourself? Our difficult experiences are never for nothing. We can choose to use them to elevate ourselves and those around us.
I wish you deep healing in your relationship with your son, and complete transformation of your pain into joy!
Do we think vaccine mandates will end up being for everyone?
Thank you for your question; it’s one I have wondered about myself at times. I wish I could give you clear answers about where this crazy COVID ride we’re all on is headed, but so much still remains to be seen. We just don’t know.
So, what can we do? We can bring it back to you. What does this question about vaccine mandates carry with it for you? I’m guessing there’s at least a little fear and apprehension attached to it (understandably!). I hope this response will help you with those difficult feelings.
Let’s face your question head-on. Imagine for a moment that vaccine mandates for everyone becomes a reality. The situation is big and out of your control. Within that scenario, I’d like to suggest that you focus in on thinking about the one thing you can always control – yourself.
Who would you want to be in that scenario if it arrives? Imagine what being the best version of yourself would look like. Perhaps you’d be a person who stands up for her principles and values, who is brave, who knows she always has a choice about the way she lives her life, who helps to create safety for others, who doesn’t give into fear…whatever that most empowered, expanded self looks like for you.
Whenever a fear about vaccine mandates or anything else runs through you, take a moment to visualize that “best self.” Breathe and bring your awareness to what it feels like in your body when you think of her. Maybe you stand up straighter, your shoulders relax, and your core feels firm. Once you get a sense of what she feels like emotionally and physically, you can step into her any time you need to return to that place of strength. And the more you go there, the more you will bring that vision you have for yourself into being.
I’d also suggest striving to maintain a balance between giving attention to the events that are taking place and being connected with the reality of the situation, and not projecting it out too far in your mind. There have been so many times in my life when I have let the anticipation of what could happen totally overwhelm me with fear, and then the thing I dreaded never materialized. The COVID scene is always changing, and no one can see how it’s all going to play out. Take in the information as it comes, make decisions one at a time when necessary, and if your imagination is bringing you down, give it a little vacation now and then.
May you be safe and well!
My daughter and her husband have ostracized myself and her father for not getting the shot. She was extremely rude to us during my granddaughter’s first birthday, policing our mask wearing and making sure we didn’t get too close. We say we’d like to be closer, bond, let [our granddaughter] see our faces…and she says, “Then you should have gotten the shot.”
We’ve all had COVID, including my granddaughter. [My daughter] is still requiring that we wear masks to see her but can take them off to talk to her if we stand “in the kitchen” (six feet away). We told her that we won’t do that…We decided it was best to just visit her through FaceTime. That way we see each other’s faces and we are not bringing our anger and frustration to their house.
A new baby is due in three weeks. We said we’d come to meet the new baby since EVERYONE is wearing masks, not just us. She is now thinking we are playing favorites and won’t let us come to meet the new baby at all. We are obviously very upset. Please offer any advice.
I am so sorry to hear about the pain and conflict that has come into your relationship with your daughter’s family because of COVID. Your situation highlights some of the worst damage that is being done in these times: it’s tearing families apart. I can tell that you are wonderful, loving parents and grandparents who just want to connect with your family. My heart goes out to you.
Your message reminded me of a situation in my life many years ago, which I’ll share in the hope that it will be helpful to you. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we originally wanted to be married by a dear friend of ours. Certain members of our family had had conflicts with this friend in the past, and now refused to come to our wedding if he would be the one to officiate. At first, my husband and I were infuriated by their threat; how dare they?? It was our wedding, and they were trying to force us to do things their way, or else! But when my husband and I spoke with our friend about it, he offered what I now know was an incredibly wise (and humble) response. He said, “You’ve got to get someone else to do the wedding. Don’t burn bridges with your family; it’s not worth it.” In the end, we heeded his advice, our family came to the wedding, and today we have a friendly relationship with them. I don’t know what would have happened if we had refused to compromise, but I imagine it may have caused a painful rift that could have been hard to heal. I’m so grateful for our friend’s wisdom.
Let’s come back to you now. I am certainly not suggesting that you bend over backward to do whatever your daughter wants in order to see your grandchildren. You have convictions about COVID, and it’s right that you should honor them. But consider taking another look at where the line in the sand is for you. What are the black-and-white areas where you know you’re not willing to compromise, and what are the gray areas where you feel you could bend a bit more for the sake of family unity? I’m sorry it seems that you’re the ones who will have to do the bending, at least for now, but you can only take responsibility for your part in this.
Let your interactions with your daughter and her family consistently be about love, connection, and unity. If you come to lines in the sand that you’ve decided you will not cross, stand firm in that decision, and then find other ways to stay connected that you can live with. None of it may feel ideal right now but keep the connection any way you can.
In these times when there is so much conflict and separation between people, it’s so important to stay as close as we can to those we love. I believe that any time we choose love, connection, and unity in this war, we are winning it. May this difficult experience ultimately bring your family closer together!
I live in a very active retirement community. At age 71, I play softball, pickleball, do difficult hikes, ride my bike, etc. In each of my clubs I have met awesome people and have formed lasting friendships. When the 'pandemic' first began, those that were fearful wanted to ensure that everyone around them was getting vaccinated. One couple found out that I am not planning to get vaccinated. Over the many months since, this couple has told other fearful ones in my softball club to beware of me. I have been treated poorly by them. Because of it, I am made to feel like a leper…Looking forward, there may be fearful ones I have yet to meet in this club…I never lie when asked if I'm vaccinated. However, I would like to have a better response when questioned. Do you have any advice about a possible response?
Thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear about the poor treatment you’ve received by people around you who are afraid. Fear can cause people to act in such shameful ways. And that “Are you…?” question is always an uncomfortable one. It really hurts to be instantly judged, and in some cases shunned when you give your truthful answer.
Here’s one possibility for you to consider: I’m wondering what it would be like for you to view these conversations as an opportunity to be an ambassador for the right to medical privacy. When questioned, what would it be like if you said something such as, “I prefer to keep my medical decisions and information private”?
Before COVID, that kind of response would have been completely acceptable to most people and in many cases, would have gone without saying. Why should it be any different now? The difference is the widespread fear that has been engineered by media and governments. Somehow COVID has it made it “normal” to think that people’s private medical information should suddenly be an open book for everyone to read…but let’s remember how upside down that is. Perhaps giving that kind of a response would be like serving up a small dose of sanity to the people you’re speaking with. Maybe it will get them thinking…
Another thing to remember is that everyone is exercising free will here. The people in your circles who are afraid of getting COVID from the “unvaccinated” are choosing to be out and about, participating in clubs and social events. Their fear doesn’t mean that you have to stay away; it’s they who should be making different choices according to what they believe! You don’t have to any bear any feeling of responsibility here.
A situation like this also makes it abundantly clear who one’s true friends are. Stick close to the people who accept you no matter what, and who, like you, are not letting their lives be ruled by fear. Stay strong!
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- Advice column premier: Back to Center
Sarah encourages you to reach out to her with requests for advice! Please send your questions to email@example.com
Sarah Perron is a Certified Transformational Life Coach. Her passion is to help people create a powerful vision for their lives, identify and eliminate anything that holds them back, and step into their own unique greatness and mission in the world. She believes deeply in the power of coaching to bring fresh perspectives, ideas, and motivation to anyone who wants to thrive in life. Sarah works with clients one-on-one and in group coaching programs and presents exciting workshops on self-development topics. You can follow her on her YouTube channel Find Your Fire.