Covid Chronicles – Part 19 & 20

This is a journal of my thoughts and feelings during the pandemic of COVID-19. 

Part 19Written on May 3rd, 2022.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about the covid-19 pandemic.

We’ve just crested another wave. Probably the highest rate of spread yet. Luckily, the hospitalizations weren’t catastrophic. But still, so many people were sick. Entire workplaces, whole sports teams. And so many deaths, each person, each number a whole human being with friends and family. A whole life gone.

Part 19 writing about Covid-19, some kind of omen maybe.

It seems the world has moved on. Mask mandates have been lifted in a lot of places and vaccine passports even more a thing of the past.

Will we look back on this time as the turning point, when the world decided to all willfully turn away from the sick, and pretend that all was well? Despite evidence to the contrary, the world announced that “all is well”, and “we will be returning to our regularly scheduled program”.

I’m so tired of the pandemic. I am, I’m exhausted by the lack of social interaction, the lack of anything happy happening, I’m tired of the fear of getting sick or worse, of getting those I love sick. But I’m more tired of conversations about “getting back to normal”.

Regardless of how much you may want to, you cannot erase an experience lived by millions, billions even, of people all over the world. You can’t hand wave away the grief of hundreds of thousands of people. We have all lived through a collective trauma for the last 2.5 years and there is no amount of “getting back to it” that will fix that.

It is truly only those who are privileged with good health, whose jobs have not been affected, who have not lost loved ones who will return to any kind of normal. The disabled, chronically ill, frontline working community will not be returning to normal. Those who have lost loved ones, friends, will not be returning to normal. Those working in hospitals and are still fighting this pandemic will not be returning to normal.

If you’re tired, I’m with you.

If life feels anything but normal, I’m with you.

If you feel angry, I’m with you.

If you are grieving and feel sad, I’m with you.

Part 20Written July 2nd, 2022

I started a new job this week. A full-time in-person job.

Boy it has been weird sitting next to another person and working all day. Watching people come in through our doors, sharing space with so many others. And doing other “normal” things too, like packing a lunch and driving to work each morning. In some small moments, it almost feels as if we’ve gone back in time.

I’m still not used to so much interaction in a day. It’s strange. I feel awkward in many social situations, gestures feel foreign, small talk is stunted as I find myself stumbling over my words.

I still wear my mask every day, all day. I don’t have to anymore but I certainly feel more comfortable doing so. Makes the whole idea of working in person a little less frightening, but maybe I just tell myself it keeps me safe enough to get through the day.

I like my new job though and am grateful for this change. Getting out and about in the world again has pushed me out of my safe zone a little and that’s probably a good thing. Everyone has also been very kind, and I think it will be a good workplace.

My coworker who shares my office asked me on my first day, “Do you want me to keep masking? I don’t mind at all if it would make you more comfortable”. Funny how these have become some of the kindest most considerate words someone can say to you, a huge gesture between strangers.

This new normal is quite the world. We venture out into public life, share spaces with others again, and breath a little deeper.

But we still flinch as a coworker sneezes, glance over at a child coughing, take a step back when someone mentions they haven’t been feeling great lately. As much as we try to ignore it, its still there.

Write soon,

Hannah B.L.

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