The last few weeks have been a time of increasing optimism, as COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates go down, and as vaccination rates go up. Spring is beginning to emerge, and the days are getting longer.
At the same time, it is a time of great sadness, as we must grapple with more than 500,000 deaths from the virus in the United States, and more than 2.6 million globally. It’s difficult to comprehend and painful to think about.
Many of my friends are posting today about what they were doing a year ago, as we all had the dawning realization that we were entering a period of uncertainty, though we could not have imagined how long it would last. In spite of generally feeling optimistic of late, as I reflect upon where we were a year ago, I find myself revisiting feelings of fear and frustration.
A whole year. The time hasn’t been wasted, but it has been different in innumerable ways. So many plans canceled, delayed, or diverted. So many interactions put on hold. Relationships interrupted by social distance.
As much as we have been incredibly resilient, and found new ways to communicate and connect through technology, we know we are still missing so much from in-person human connection and physical closeness. We are missing spontaneity. We are missing the engagement of all our senses in our experiences. We are missing each other.
I know how very privileged I am to live in a comfortable home with a family that is happy and healthy. To be able to continue my job from home, and even to consistently send my children to in-person school for most of the last seven months, which has saved my sanity. (My heart goes out to parents, children, and teachers who have not had a break from virtual school.) But life is still unmistakably different from before, and that is very sad.
Today I am sad for those who have died from COVID-19, and the family members who lost them, often without being able to say goodbye. I am also deeply sad for all of those who are truly suffering from isolation from family and friends, loss of income, and loss of hope and opportunity. These have been such difficult times, and the after-effects will go on for some time.
But things will get better.
The glimmer of hope provided by the three FDA approved vaccines is growing brighter every day. I am grateful that many of my family members and friends have already been vaccinated, and that they stayed healthy and safe all these months of waiting. We are all still waiting for things to truly get better, but they are moving in the right direction.
A year ago, if I had known how long this would last, I would have found it unbearable. But here we are. I am reminding myself to continue breathing deeply and taking one small step at a time as we continue to navigate uncertainty. We have come so far, and I am hopeful that the difficulties of this time can soon be relegated to memory as we move forward into healthier and better times together.