There has been so much in the news this past month about the COVID-19 Virus, a lot of which is down right scary! I had to step away from social media and news stations early in April due to becoming consumed by the negativity. With each “breaking news” alert or every news conference by the governor in our state or the presidential task force, anxiety began to well up inside of me. Having gone three weeks with very little sleep, I sought the help of my physician via a videoconference. Finally, I am so grateful to be sleeping a little bit better these days, with all things considered.
If news of this pandemic is affecting us this way, imagine the impact it is having on our children. I have a 23 year old and a 15 year old, and my heart worries and prays over them daily. Right now, my adult daughter is in the direct line of fire while working in the emergency department at our local hospital. When personal protective equipment was scarce, my anxiety grew by leaps and bounds. Now, over a month into this, she is sheltered behind a glass in what she describes as a “box” as her workstation. She still wears her mask, and my heart is thankful for improvements to her working conditions.
My 15 year old once loved the thought of homeschooling. Now, however, she has come to realize that socialization found in a school setting is not only desired but necessary and essential to her wellbeing. After six weeks, it feels like she has been in isolation. We are under “stay at home or work” orders from the governor, so my husband and I only leave the house to go to work, go to the grocery store, or the pharmacy. We are thankful that we have a big yard for my daughter to get out and play volley ball with us in the evenings, but the days are long for her with limited social interactions when we are not here.
My husband and I are both considered essential employees, so we have continued with our routine of going into work. I am so thankful that my employer has allowed us to alternate days that we are in the office. This prevents my coworker and I from being in the office at the same time, so that if one of us gets it, the other will be safe. That is the theory at least. The times I am working from home enable me to be present for my daughter, even if we can’t go any where like we are used to doing. We are together, and that matters so much more now with the isolation she has felt on days we are away at work.
Early on, I was not able to see my oldest daughter due to both of us working on the front lines. That was hard. Extremely hard. Finally, we decided we had to see each other, and we took steps to ensure social distancing. Close knit families are impacted when they are not able to see other family members who do not reside in the same household. When you’re used to hugging your children, and now you’re not able to … it really tears at your heart.
My parents are in their early 70s, and extra precautions are being taken to ensure their safety during this pandemic. A part of that is limiting contact with them, which absolutely rips my heart out. My mom is actually celebrating her birthday TODAY! We should all be gathered around her over a delicious meal, purposely singing off-key to get a smile out of her. Yet, last night when I took her a freshly baked homemade pound cake, I could not get close to her. She and my daddy stepped out on the front porch, and I stood in front of my vehicle at their chain link fence which seemed like miles and miles between us. We talked for a few minutes, and I was thankful to see her and my dad in person. But, we didn’t dare go inside and visit with them like we used to do. She wanted us to, and she insisted several times. However, I could not live with myself if something happened to either of my parents due to my exposure to them, if I was an unknown carrier.
Covid-19 has closed businesses and placed hundreds of thousands on unemployment across the United States. We are lucky in that our employers have continued right on, so our paychecks have not stopped. However, it’s not entirely “fair” that people on the front lines are working for the same pay; meanwhile, those on unemployment receive their unemployment benefits PLUS an extra $600.00 a week. There is no hazard pay being received from my employer, nor any other perks for being an essential employee working on the front lines. Our paychecks have not stopped, so for that I am thankful even if we aren’t receiving any more like those that are on unemployment.
As I write this, the governor of our state is on television once again … he says things are clearing up, so we are hopeful. As for my family and I, we will continue with social distancing, even as they talk of opening up beaches, state parks, stores, and even restaurants. Until we know it’s entirely safe, our family will continue to take precautions.
Throughout all of this, I can say that God has not left our side. He has been looking out for each of us, and I believe He will continue to do so. He knows how this pandemic will turn out and when it will all end. So we trust in Him. This isn’t the first time the world has been struck with a pandemic, although it is the first we’ve lived through. I hope we can all live to a ripe old age and tell our great-grandchildren all about it with firsthand accounts, instead of what they will read later on from a History book.