One Year Later, Another Perspective

There have been a considerable amount of articles, blog posts, other features about reaching the one year mark of the pandemic. Everyone offers their own, slightly different perspective. I feel they are all worth sharing, if for the singular purpose of creating an historical mosaic. To read my personal tales of pandemic life, see “Thoughts from Home: Life During a Global Pandemic“. I continue with my story… 

A year ago this week was my first week of quarantine with my daughter at her apartment and my second week “working from home” for a job I had just begun. We had gone to New Jersey the week before for Ann’s funeral. For us, and those who knew and loved Ann, the stories that abound regarding COVID-19’s first year also signified the countdown to another difficult, more personal, milestone.

The long road back. Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. March 2021

I imagine all of the families who lost someone directly to this pandemic approached this one-year acknowlegement with a similar uneasiness. I remember speaking to 9-11 Families many years ago who wished to mourn their loved ones privately while the entire world shared and yet couldn’t possibly comprehend the level of their grief. 

Roughly 528,000 lives were lost to COVID-19 in 12 months. Statistics show that the pandemic and ensuing shutdowns and closures have effected mental health, education, and of course the financial stability of many.  None of that can be taken lightly, although this too shall pass.

Our experiences are very personal. All perspectives are valid. While some mourn the loss of a loved one, some frontline workers experienced unimaginable stress, while others found the struggle in managing online learning and/or maintaining mental wellness equally challenging. Although I was laid off at the end of June and have been without the job that will make a few other areas of my life complete, I am grateful for Kurt’s support. Other than gaining 10 pounds, I’ve channeled my inner-introvert and have navigated the past year fairly well.  

I’ve come at this too with my ability to “roll with the punches” (one of my greatest skills according to my mom) and also with the hindsight of my (almost) 56 years of living and over 25 years of running (including 10 marathons). One lesson learned is that we rarely give the journey the credit it’s due until it is a fleeting memory; as soon as the marathon is over we put our sights on the next one. 

I find now that my mind is full of bittersweet memories of beautiful moments in my life that at the time I could only see as a difficult journey to someplace better. I don’t think our experience in regard to the past year will be any different. As I was driving back from the United Center on Monday after receiving my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I thought about the strong and resilient people we became. 

How we will remember the kindness of the people who offered support and helped us cope. How we perhaps got to spend more quality time with our immediate families. How we connected with neighbors who were also working from home. How we will cherish the effort we made to spend time with others on Zoom. How we found motivation in virtual races. We’ll look at the pet we adopted. And how successful we were still able to be at work. And yes, how much we miss working at home in sweatpants.

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