We won’t let you on the street, he said. Tears in his eyes. Tears in mines. We know the venue will close; we know the country will go in lockdown. We know there is no place I’ll go to.
This is home to me … The people, the vibe, more than anything else.
My home is where my backpack stands, for the last couple of years. Yet, for the last months, my backpack has been stowed. My home has become this little town with these amazing people. Going back home does not mean anything to me, because there is nowhere to go ‘back’ to. Rather, this is my home.
But today, I lose it all: the job, the amazing team, the house, the hometown. Everybody is devastated at work. Not because of losing the job for six months, but because it is high-likely never to come back. As such, yesterday night was not the last night for a while, but it was high-likely the last night for ever.
For all of us, this feels like a slam in the face, because this venue was so much more than just a hospitality business. It was a home for all of us; we worked together as a family, with everybody having their own share and character, yet, all were accepted and harmoniously together. Lead by the Big Dog, the father figure for all, the best we could imagine.
It wasn’t only for the money, the insecurity, the fear of what is about to come, but more than anything we mourned about the loss of it all. The loss of something unique we might never find again. I know this is what reflected to our customers, I know this is why customers literally made the extra mile to get to this venue. Because they as well must have felt at home, not merely customers, but part of our family for one night or one afternoon.
I remember one night a lady being upset because it was her Birthday and several events that day had turn it into the worst Birthday she ever had. My colleague’s response was “let’s turn this around”, and we gave the best service we could. She left the venue with a big smile saying it was the best Birthday she had.
That’s why I loved working there, because we could give that unique experience to people walking in; walking out with a smile on their face and a warm glow over their being. The same counted for me. No matter how I felt in the morning, I would always leave with a smile and a warm glow of love.
This place was unique, the team was unique, the manager was unique. It was all so precious, I cannot belief it is lost.
‘Call me in the middle of the night,’ she said, ‘if anything’. I waved her words away. But at 3.54 am I woke up; with the sudden feeling it was all lost. I started crying, and allowed myself to cry. It was lost, the family, the feeling of belonging, the feeling of being at home.
I cried myself asleep again. Waking up in the morning, I told myself: ‘It is over, it is lost, but not all is lost’. They are still here, the amazing people who actually care about you. It is still here, the place you call home. Although, it will look differently, it isn’t lost.
‘We won’t let you on the street,’ he said, the Big Dog, and he was right. After the news was made known, and all of us were in tears. An incredible number of my colleagues came up to me, offering me a home and a family. You are not alone in this, they said, and I realised that it wasn’t all gone. It was still there, and I was for once not on my own.
This is the time, I realised what he meant with ‘you need a family structure around you’. It means not being on your own, it means a shoulder to cry on, a hug without the need to talk, someone who gets your back. It means a hand getting you up again when you fall down, as much as a hand to stop you when you do wrong. It means a warm structure to help you get through life, in the good and the bad.
It might be all lost, but the essence is still there. I am still at home, in this town where I from day to day became homeless and unemployed. I will find my way, because I have family now to count on, to cry with and laugh with, to talk with and just remain in silence.
When a crisis knocks on your door, no matter how small or big, you need a family structure to answer the call with you. Not only family by blood, but by so much more.
Take the time to look around you, who is your family? Who are the people that get your back? Who are the people you could cry and laugh with; who you could just be yourself with? No matter where you are stranded right now in the world, you have family around you. And if you are surrounded by your family of everyday, take the time to value their presence, their role in your life.
We gain meaning in our relationships to others. Take care of your meaningful relationships, as they are what really means the world to anyone of us.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read on how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness, on how you can contribute to this battle, on how gratitude lights up the dark, on how united we will stand strong. and on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis. Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.