Love is not measured by the time we spend on this planet, a ring on our finger, or the nuclear family we are born into. Love is an immeasurable connection as powerful as it is amorphous. Throughout history — the good times and bad, plagues and pandemics — people have written about (and of course felt) love. Whether it be the romantic love of a partner, the intensity we hold for a hobby, a place we look forward to visiting all year, or the platonic, yet invaluable relationships we have with our friends...love is everywhere.
But love is almost always accompanied by and sporadically littered with its less warm and fuzzy counterpart: loss. Markers of life’s big events, love and loss help usher us into new ways of being: birth and death, marriage and divorce, moving away and building anew….
This year, these markers have been postponed and riddled with strife. The traditions that help our minds and bodies process these metamorphic events have been displaced with the strange and unknown that has seemingly crept into every creature comfort we most likely took for granted. This entirely new manner of living has challenged our sense of self, tested our patience, and has us reevaluating our priorities.
This year I lost a parent. I am no stranger to death, but nothing can truly prepare you for loss of this magnitude. After eight years of terminal illness, my father died. I anticipated this for most of my adult life and the entirety of my twenties. It is still beyond surreal to have finally arrived at the day I knew would come sooner than any of us wanted. But here we are. His chair is empty and the air of his cologne long gone.
Momotaro Apotheca cofounder and CEO Lindsay Wynn with her father and brother.
These literal and figurative spaces are as painful as you imagine. But, unlike death, I am coming to learn these feelings are not final. They morph as you move through the world. Some days they are manageable, yet unbearable on others. All the while, there is no guarantee what you’ll feel when you wake up each morning.
Every day feels new after a death, yet eerily similar. I often describe my experience around grief akin to Groundhog Day. Constantly wondering what’s next, if it will be ok, and what the future will hold. Oftentimes, days feel monotonous. It’s hard to track progress when you exist somewhere between exhausted and overwhelmed. But you’re there. You open your eyes, start your day, and eventually the routine makes a little more sense. The crying subsides, the good memories start, and the wounds become scar tissue — and the scar tissue strength.
What I have come to know as truth this year is that I am not alone in this journey. Grief, anger, depression, love, sadness, hope, and joy are ubiquitous across the globe. They are inextricably linked and nauseatingly cyclical with the impossibility of feeling one without eventually feeling the opposite. Their contradictions coexist to teach us to love more, let go, and live in the moment. They encourage us to live life to the fullest because it is precious, short, and at the end of the day, we all deserve a life well lived.
Unlike death, I am coming to learn these feelings are not final. They morph as you move through the world.
The effects of the pandemic, global warming, and the challenges from our current leadership have touched nearly every continent, country, and town on the planet, yielding a unique global experience. For the first time, we are connected through more than trade and travel; we’re connected through empathy, life, and death. We see and feel each other through the pain and perseverance that links us during these extraordinary circumstances.
Although at times it has pushed us apart, exacerbated our differences, and emphasized our shortcomings, this year has also forced us to recognize the equal and opposite opportunity each and every one of us holds to make a difference. Be it with the words you use, the goods you buy, or the choices you make behind closed doors, we have the opportunity to help bring our country, planet, and families back together. Even if it is only through kindness and generosity, these simple gestures make a difference.
This year as I, and we as Momotaro Apotheca reflect on our wins, losses, and the things we can not control, we are most grateful for you, our community, and the people who continue to teach us and provide invaluable support. From your monetary purchases to your ideas that help us evolve, we would not be here without you. As a team and as a business, we know how invaluable it is to work together — not against one another. This has never been more true than in the year 2020. As company and as a species, we are making sacrifices, leaping with faith, and learning in ways we never have before.
I encourage you all to work together this year, and help us find our way — and our joy. We are truly in this together and we will be better because of it.
Cofounder & CEO
Redefining Activism by Kénta Xiadani Ch'umil (the/them)