A Chaos Narrative

Dinari Anderson

Imagine your mother passing away while you are already dealing with the stress of transitioning between employment while looking for a new job. On top of this, your six-year-old daughter is in her last year of kindergarten, and you have two twin sons to put through their freshman years of college. These are all things that my interviewee has had to deal with. For the sake of anonymity for the person being interviewed for this assignment, she will be referred to as Jane. This 45-year-old mother of four, Jane, has had so much stress juggling these things in her life recently. One might say that these are normal adversities faced by the average middle-aged working-class minority woman in America. Sometimes life just has its tough lows, right? Well what has made this experience unique not only for Jane, but for many working-class minority women all over America, is the COVID-19 pandemic. It has come and completely turned everyone’s world upside down from so many different angles. These average everyday minority women have to overcome the adversities they face on the regular to deal with the new impacts of the current coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the actual illness caused by the virus itself, the chaos narratives of many people currently detail how they are facing the stressful impacts of the virus on their lives.

It has been very evident that the coronavirus has put a strain on the lives of so many people and talking with Jane helped me understand the many different ways it has impacted the lives of working-class people beyond the actual illness itself. The coronavirus has caused so many people to be laid off from work and it has also made workplace regulations complicated due to new emerging COVID-19 health standards for businesses that continue to function. Jane’s narrative is one relating to chaos as she continued to face adversity at every corner caused by the pandemic. Jane was one of the working-class people particularly impacted by the coronavirus in the realm of employment and many other ways. Jane elaborated on how the pandemic affected her transition into a new job she was excited about. She was in the process of getting a new job while on leave from her current job. She took the much-needed leave to mourn the loss of her mother and plan her funeral (That is another experience that will be elaborated on later). While on leave and preparing to start the new job she applied for, Jane was told by her old employers that there was a case of COVID at her old job. Jane was then prompted to then quarantine until further notice and wasn’t able to start her new job.

Jane knew that she needed to save money for her daughter’s current tuition, and for her first-grade tuition next year. Also, her sons would continue to rack up tuitions at their individual colleges. These are things she felt extremely responsible for, and the pandemic put a strain on her goals to obtain this new job that would help her financial situation tremendously. The employers of the new job she applied to also halted all required in person interviews for the job-hire-process, thus further elongating her unemployment due to higher COVID-19 rates. Financial strain is not something that just Jane has to deal with. It is important to note that there are so many other people like her who are being put in tough situations due to COVID on top of the financial responsibilities they already have.

Briefly mentioned earlier, Jane also had to cope with the death of her mother during the pandemic and the large amount of stress that COVID-19 health restrictions put on the funeral process. As she was dealing with the issue of transitioning into a new job, Jane’s mother passed away while in hospice care. Jane’s mother had been in nursing care since the beginning of the pandemic and Jane was not able to see her as much because her old age making her higher risk for the virus. Jane was not able to have the contact she wanted with her mother during her last few months until she was transferred into palliative care. Even in hospice care, only a limited amount of family members were able to come view Jane’s mother. Things became progressively worse as Jane’s mother became nonverbal and non-responsive. The amount of time that Jane had with her mother before her passing was cut short do to contact restrictions. She had only spoken with her mom a few times before, and COVID-19 restrictions didn’t allow her to have the final moments with her mother she wanted.

To add to her stress and grief, Jane had to deal with the responsibility of planning the funeral for her mother. Due to the current pandemic, the funeral service had to be held graveside and only a limited amount of people could attend. Many family members weren’t able to attend the service. It was also safe to say the funeral service itself was below average. The funeral home being used for the service had a very high number of funerals services scheduled to the increase in COVID related deaths. This caused many of the funerals such as Jane’s to be very rushed and unmemorable due to the high demand of funeral services needed during the pandemic.

This is just one of the many ways the pandemic has put a strain on things that would function on a normal everyday basis that most people don’t think about. This virus has come along and affected so many lives and businesses in many different ways. Jane is just one person who explained her experience with how she’s juggling her responsibilities with large amount of pressure added by the pandemic on daily life. The importance of Jane’s story is how this external factor, COVID-19, has impacted the lives of many average people like her. COVID-19 has been and will continue to be a tough reality for a lot of people.