Learning her language: protecting the past and securing the future

Hello fellow KIRC caregivers and support family!

Each of us processes and reacts to loss and grief in different ways. There are no right or wrong reactions to the events taking place in our worlds.

As many of you know, the creation of Keeping It REAL Caregiving came from my lived experience of caring for my mother for many years, until she passed in 2020.

My coping mechanism for all that I faced, learned, and then the grief of saying goodbye, has been to share stories, educate others, and advocate for changes in how we plan and prepare for growing older.

The woman I would like to introduce you to in this post, is using wave upon wave of grief to focus on the future. In her case, it is a determination to save a legacy of her family and cultural past.

Below is an excerpt from my latest article published in Next Avenue, selected as an Editor’s Pick! This article shines a light on how Covid-19 has disproportionately impacted Native American communities.

COVID-19 Losses Motivate a Native American Woman to Honor Her Heritage

“I remember just sitting there overwhelmed. It felt like people were just falling and dying and it was like, when is this going to stop?” Fighting back the tears and with an audible quiver in her voice, Cindy Powers recalled feeling helplessness and grief each time she learned COVID-19 had taken the life of a family member.

“I was told over the phone about my one aunt who passed away in the hospital. She was just 59 years old. She was a mom, a grandma and had just retired,” says Powers. “She got to Zoom with one or two family members, but there were no other family members and she died alone.”

Cindy Powers/Coping with grief in the wake of Covid-19 is now focused on achieving fluency in the Navajo language

Powers now mourns not one, two, or even three family members taken by the pandemic. Instead, she is now coping with the loss of 17 people. The youngest who died was in their mid-30s. 

Powers has watched COVID-19 rip through the fabric of her family structure, taking much from her. She admits coping with grief 17 times over has been difficult. But, it has opened her eyes to a sobering thought.

“We’re so small in numbers that we could actually in the blink of an eye be gone. That’s the reality,” Powers says. She understands that such a significant and rapid loss in population translates to fewer who write, understand and speak her native Navajo language. 

Read the full article here

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KIRC extends a heartfelt thank you to Cindy Powers for sharing her emotionally difficult, yet inspiring story. I am honored for the opportunity to capture and share such a touching journey.

For anyone sifting through grief, I hope you too can find pathways to channel those emotions in a way that helps you – and perhaps others in your sphere of influence.

Until next time~

Be sure to follow at Julia Yarbough Media Group!