Death has been pressed up against our mask-covered noses due to the fear and reality of COVID-19. As our heart rates rose and the media continued to hum to the beat of seemingly staccato death numbers and infection rates, COVID-19 surpassed its one-year anniversary.
It’s easy enough to say that we’d like to have just swept our anxiety under the rug, but it gets complicated when the rug was pulled from underneath us. Instead of tripping up, we stayed on our feet watching everyone’s moves on and off the screen.
When the pandemic crept in, we shut our doors like a child trying to ward off the monsters that lie behind it. The abrupt halt paused our forward outlook and turned our gaze to what was right beside us. Whether it was by free will or force, families became closer than ever before. In isolation we found comfort in rekindling lost connections.
Life gets antsy for us to craft our own paths, and as we do so we can start to deter from those close to us. Junior Madelyn Roberts found that she was losing connection with her sister over the years and the time in quarantine allowed them both to realize how much they enjoy spending time together. Activities like bike riding and working out usually seem mundane, but during a pandemic that’s about as much fun as they got.
“The bond that I felt like we lost a little bit was reconnected,” Roberts said.
It was like they got to travel back in time to when they were younger and free of impending responsibilities. At home when the screens were off life seemed to be okay, but when the power button was pressed and the phone screens unlocked, that’s when stress arrived.
The media ocean was a constant reality check after reality check while just trying to navigate how to reach out to friends and family. Roberts found that her media usage increased throughout the pandemic and heightened her anxiety. With 24-hour news, it’s difficult to not feel the need to constantly check and scroll.
The importance of healthy and supportive relationships has been reiterated and called on to answer the cry for human connection.
Most would argue that things definitely aren’t normal. Senior Logan Newman wants us to remember that things are weird, but this is a pandemic. Working through this past year Newman has watched businesses and people adapt to the way of the coronavirus landscape. One by one the social distance markers were placed on the floors of grocery stores and the doors started to open up again. With the new rules in place, we all had to rely on each other to do our part.
“A lot of people felt like we were being taken out of our comfort zone, but honestly it didn’t really feel like that,” Newman said. “If people and businesses wanted to run close to usual, they had to adjust to the pandemic.”
Newman didn’t want to be scared, but then he realized this thing wasn’t going away. It was clear to him while working at a nursing home that something was going on. He witnessed death, and he watched how others were getting through it. They set up tables and window visits and tested the senior citizens. Even with that, a married couple living at the nursing home had to socially distance. The man wanted to walk closer to his wife to give her a kiss, who was all dolled up to see him, and he wasn’t allowed to kiss her.
“Just let the man kiss his wife,” Newman said.
We can’t take life for granted. We also must recognize how strong we are to have grown through this experience. With all of the negativity that COVID caused, it has made us more grateful than ever before.