Behind the Mask
Changing Perspectives, Moving Lives — Maryland
As we approach the one-year anniversary of social distancing, quarantining, and COVID-19 precautionary measures, the words “COVID-19” and “pandemic” have imperiously maneuvered into our everyday lexicons. Masks are no longer foreign cloths on our faces, but rather habitually worn whenever exiting our homes. Handshakes are no longer a customary way to greet individuals, a simple “hello” from six feet away will prove sufficient. Hand sanitizer will find itself perfectly positioned in every corner you turn, and please do not cough or sneeze in public unless you want to receive a questioning glare from the stranger nearby.
The pandemic has entirely and drastically changed our lives, and the routines we follow. As for the business world, telecommuting to work will now be the new normal, even when the pandemic subsides.
But, before I continue any further, I first would like to share my condolences to those who have lost a loved one to this virus, and then I would like to provide my most gracious appreciation and thanks to the frontline workers who have continued to risk their lives and demonstrate such terrific acts of heroisms during these times.
I personally lost my grandfather during the pandemic, thankfully not to the virus, but definitely from a side effect of it. Pre-COVID-19, my mother, aunt, and I would visit my grandfather every weekend and take him out to lunch. He lived in a nursing home, and so to provide him a change in scenery, he was forever grateful. When COVID-19 first became a pertinent issue, and restrictions were set into place, we were no longer able to visit him in the nursing home. Shortly thereafter, he passed away, alone. The grieving process of those who lost a loved one—whether to, or during, COVID-19—is anything but typical. Because what we grieving individuals failed to receive was the formality of closure with those sudden, unexpected deaths with improper funerals; that is, of course, if the grieving family was even given the luxury of a funeral service.
But nonetheless, COVID-19 has reinforced the idea that “If there is a will, there is a way." Teachers have turned their homes into classrooms, parents have played the roles of teachers, students have found comfort in virtual support groups, and animals have enjoyed the company of their human counterparts. If COVID-19 has taught me anything, it’s that a simple check-in with your friend, or your neighbor, is enough to give that person the hope and courage to stay on this earth. Be that helping hand, that ray of sunshine, or inspiring force in someone’s life. Our existence here on this earth is temporary, and so we must learn to be present during every moment and to cherish those conversations and connections with the ones we love. So, stay strong, and stay kind, because this too shall pass.
— Faith LeBrun, 17