I stopped my daily video check-in yesterday, at Day 400. I felt like I’d said most of what I needed to and I’m fully vaccinated now, so maybe show clips, a bit further apart. I’m hoping to show more adventures instead.
The possibilities still aren’t as plentiful as I would have liked at this point. There are still people refusing vaccines, while I try and make plans to go to Indiana sometime this summer. I hate to draw such a fine line, but I really want to protect the elders in my family, whether they are vaccinated or not, and that means making difficult choices between visiting the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.
As unfortunate as that is, because so many are making a conscious choice to not protect themselves as well as others, I believe this pandemic will be drawn out by the variants that sneak through the holes left by the unvaccinated. We are so close to the end, but yet so far.
While I feel much more protected than I felt this time last month, that doesn’t mean I’ll throw caution to the wind and act like COVID still isn’t out there, waiting to exploit someone, whether it be someone who willingly courts it, unmasked and unvaccinated, or someone who has been as careful as I’ve been, only to be sabotaged by the carelessness of other people.
I have COVID fatigue for sure. All of us do. As the days have stretched on into weeks, months, and now YEARS, I’m ready for a little more freedom. Will you help me get there?
Last Thursday, I received the second dose of my Moderna COVID vaccine. I was so relieved, I cried. Honestly, OVERWHELMINGLY relieved. It’s one step closer to being closer to whatever normal was 16 months ago.
When I hear people say they don’t want/need the vaccine, my heart breaks. These are the same people who want “normal” back, they want everything open and to move on with their lives, but they don’t want the vaccine.
I know people have their reasons. Fear. Side effects. They live where they don’t think they’ll need it. Blind obedience to someone who says they don’t need it. Religion. Whatever. Reasons.
This pandemic has already dragged out longer than it’s needed to. A year ago, we had the opportunity to nip this virus, but instead, America chose it’s “freedoms.”
On my left shoulder, you can still see my smallpox vaccine scar. Not long after I received mine, they stopped giving them to children. Why? With the vaccine, they had eradicated smallpox in this country and most places in the world. When the polio vaccine was offered in the 1950’s, people lined up to get the vaccine. Why? Because it was effective and protective against polio. Less than ten years later, polio was all but gone, and by the 1970’s, polio was no longer a threat.
Why is COVID different? Why has the attitude toward public health changed? Why don’t those choosing not to get the vaccination care about themselves or others? It’s baffling. Truly baffling. I remember being required to prove I’d been vaccinated against a myriad of diseases not nearly as viral or as deadly as COVID to go to school/college. A COVID vaccine is just one more for the list.
We’re headed toward the exit of this pandemic, but we are not there yet. To protect myself and those I love, I cannot, in good conscience, visit or reconnect with people who aren’t vaccinated yet. Those who refuse the vaccination, I may not get to see you for a while. I hope you understand. I have to look out for my own health, and if you won’t, I have to draw the line.
The CDC says I can travel domestically. I can have small gatherings with other vaccinated peeps. Science says not to put the masks away just yet. Keep doing what kept me healthy so far.
I’ve lived part of my life following, and somewhere I crossed over to living on the edge and leading the way. Trying new things and boldly going places I’ve never been. To me, choosing to be vaccinated is one of my boldest choices. I follow the science.
I hope more people choose the vaccine down the line, once they’ve seen its effectiveness. I want to put this pandemic in my rearview mirror, and the only way to do that is to fight it with methods we know that work – distancing, vaccines, masks.
Vaccines work. I have the smallpox vaccine scar to prove it.
A year ago, I came home from the office for the last time, not knowing how long this newly minted pandemic would last. In all honesty, I was thinking by the fall, we’d all be back to “normal.” I couldn’t grasp anything longer than a few months.
One year later, with thousands of new cases still being reported every day, at least we have vaccines and a rollout plan. I have one of my two doses of the Moderna vaccine and am waiting until after the second one achieves full potency and then… I have no idea what I’m going to do.
The possibilities aren’t endless, but at least there are possibilities. Photo walks with friends, riding in the same car with no masks on, going to a restaurant and sitting down inside, and most of all, HUGS. ONE YEAR WITHOUT HUGS.
So much has changed in the world and stayed the same in my life. I work from home now, and probably will to some degree for some time. I haven’t traveled since 2019 and can’t wait to pick some place to go even if I have to drive for days and not fly. Vaccinations are opening up some of the world.
I struggle to understand why someone would not want the vaccine but still wants to continue to live life as if that didn’t matter to everyone around them. The longer people reject the vaccine, the longer the pandemic will go on. By fall there could be variants that affect all of us because of the unvaccinated. I encourage everyone to get the vaccine as soon as they can. Please. It is the best way forward.
One year. 365 days. 525,600 minutes. Each one precious. I don’t consider the last year a waste, but a learning experience. Much of my future is actually clearer than it has been. I know that I don’t want to waste any more days or minutes. I’m hopeful there won’t be a day 730 social distancing.
After months of waiting, I have finally gotten my first of two vaccines to protect me from COVID 19. I was a little emotional afterward, and probably will be more so after the second dose. Even then, life won’t be “normal” for quite some time. It will, however, be much less muted.
Most of my “elders” are vaccinated now, but other than people I knew who are front line workers and teachers, I didn’t know anyone who had gotten the vaccine. Texas is woefully behind other states in their vaccination effort, and I was resigned to not having a vaccine until sometime this summer.
Fortunately, CVS pharmacy is now making appointments for COVID vaccines. Other pharmacies are joining in. I managed to, after camping out on the CVS site for about a week, to get an appointment.
I will get my second dose at the beginning of April. Then, at the end of the next two weeks, the vaccine will at fully efficacy. I still don’t know what that means for me as far as freedom is concerned, but maybe I’m one step closer to hanging out with friends or taking a road trip.
It’s still very, very cold outside. I still can’t flush the toilet, take a shower, do laundry. I am, however, warm and fed and entertained. In a couple more days I hope most of this is a distant memory.
I’ve always thought it was serendipitous that National Hugging Day would fall on my brother’s death anniversary. I always appreciated being around people on this day, because I would get loads of hugs.
I’m a hugger. Being in essential isolation for 312 days now with no hugs or touch whatsoever, I understand why hugs and affection are important.
I’m weeks, likely months, from being vaccinated twice. When I think about it, I want to scream or cry. Or eat a cupcake. I am relieved, however, that the current President has an actual plan to get two vaccines in my arm sooner rather than later.
I will never take hugs for granted any more. If you have someone in your social distancing pod, hug them from me.
I had not watched Selma until today. My love for Ava DuVernay not withstanding, I knew watching it would tear me apart. Three minutes in, I was sobbing. The murders of Addie May, Carole, Cynthia, and Denise by the KKK made me scream, “Why?!” I know this was one of over 40 bombings by the KKK. Violence is never the answer.
I know Dr. Martin Luther King wasn’t perfect, but he answered the call. He acted. Peacefully. He incited peaceful protests. He led marches. He lived the words he spoke.
It’s been nearly two weeks since non-peaceful insurrectionists, white supremacists, invaded our Capitol while Congress was in session with the intent to harm. They gleefully recorded their exploits and posted them in various places, including Parler, a cesspool of white supremacists, neo nazis and a few people wandering in because they believe they are being censored (they aren’t) elsewhere.
They are having the nerve to act surprised that they are being arrested for breaking into the Capitol building (a felony), stealing Capitol property, and vandalizing what they proudly proclaimed as “our House.”
Some were armed. Some beat a policeman with a Blue Lives Matter flagpole. A policeman, trying to keep these insurrectionists from killing Congressmembers, died. Their grievance? Believing the lies peddled by the soon to be former administration. Their grievance? Butt hurt that whites are losing their grip on the power they’ve kept through voter suppression and maximizing their minority through that suppression and other means.
Why is equality so scary to some? Fear is driving these people to attack the very foundations of our democracy and spew hatred while praying to God. It’s been 55 years since the beginning of the Civil Rights movement and we’re still so far behind where we need to be as a nation.
If you are one of the white supremacists that marched into the Capitol building, you aren’t being persecuted, you are being held accountable. You stood up for someone who couldn’t care a rat’s ass about you, and you will pay the price for your actions and he will not rescue you.
I, myself, dream of a vibrant, “minority-majority” society. One where we can live together in harmony, celebrating each others’ differences, and celebrating our shared humanity. I believe it’s still possible, but only if we acknowledge that there’s still a problem, and only if we cut out the heart of the white supremacist movement and stand up for all people.
I have lived paycheck to paycheck most of my life. I have had to decide between gas and groceries and not just once. I have visited the food bank. I had to let my teeth go because I couldn’t afford the dental care I needed. I drove cars that broke down constantly.
AND I WORKED MY ASS OFF. At one point, I had three jobs and still sometimes wondered if I’d have enough gas to get to work. While life is much better for me now, I remember feeling the judgement, real or perceived, because I couldn’t make ends meet working those three jobs (without health insurance) and I couldn’t make my degree work for me either.
If your definition of socialism is “someone I don’t like or I think doesn’t deserve” what you already have, you a) need a dictionary, and b) you should be thankful you have the privilege you can stand on and make judgements from.
Poverty is not a moral failing, it’s a failing of a system. I’m no longer ashamed of what some call “wasted years”. Since I lived it, I know how hard it is to overcome it. There aren’t always opportunities, they need to be created. One was created for me, and I haven’t forgotten it.
Instead of “they don’t” or “they shouldn’t”, perhaps we should start talking about “we” and “us.” That’s what community is all about.
I can’t believe we are at the end of 2020. I started off the year by choosing “Roar” as my One Word 365 choice. Little did I know I would not be the one roaring my way through the year, but COVID 19 would instead.
Today is social distancing day 291. Trying to bring my thoughts together is difficult, simply because the circumstances of my life haven’t really changed from day to day. I had so many plans for my staycation, but mostly all I’ve done is survive. That, my friends, is a worthy goal achieved. Don’t let anyone tell you differently.
Last night, I took a late call from a friend who lost her mother to a savage, quick-spreading cancer. We talked about all COVID had taken from us, robbed from us in broad daylight. Though she was able to have the final, precious moments with her mother, her confidante, her best friend, she was robbed of all the moments she could have had if she had been able to visit her in the hospital the last few weeks. My aunt could have had her family visit her and not leave her wondering if everyone was dead because they weren’t coming to see her. My aunt didn’t understand. My friend doesn’t understand. I don’t understand.
None of us understand.
COVID has robbed me of visits, precious time with my family. Some aren’t getting any younger, and some are getting older at a pace that if you blink, so much is missed. Kids are missing the camaraderie of choir, sports, clubs, and special dances. The adults are missing some semblance of preciously needed down time. Others are missing company. We are all missing something.
Yet there are still people out there who complain about masks or doing anything to prevent COVID for their neighbor. Even if it was only symbolic and not effective, as they claim, they still show their selfishness putting their supposed inconvenience against showing they care for their neighbors, their families, OUR families.
One of my childhood “Dads” passed from COVID recently. Two more adults from my childhood have died as well in the same time period, and while they may not have passed from COVID, COVID is robbing the families of proper funerals, robbing them from the normal first steps of the grief journey.
Compassion is free. Kindness costs nothing. Empathy means you are emotionally mature enough to realize it’s NOT ABOUT YOU because you’ve felt someone else’s pain and you can understand what someone’s going through. Our country is full of people who cannot muster any of those three emotional states or actions. That’s one of many frightening revelations COVID has shown me about America in 2020.
I am hopeful, that as vaccines are distributed (disturbingly slow) that COVID, the great thief, becomes COVID the great professor of how to human better. Many lessons yet to learn, many battles yet to fight, but we made it to this point in time. A time to look back (20/20) and a time to look forward.
I haven’t chosen a “One Word” for 2021. I don’t know if I will or not. After all, I chose the voice of a lion for a year that began hopeful and bright that turned into a roaring storm that has tossed me about while staying rooted in the same place for way too long. I need to think more carefully and reflect on lessons learned in 2020 that began like a lamb, and is ending as a rain-soaked roaring lion.
I’ll be honest, this week has been awful so far. My oldest aunt passed away on Sunday afternoon. While I am relieved her husband and one of her children was able to be with her in the end, because of COVID, she spent too many weeks alone, not understanding why. One day there will be a reckoning for the selfish and careless who did nothing to keep this virus at bay. I’m sad, I’m angry, and I hurt for my family who has to navigate what would normally be devastating in itself and now all the rules are different and the norms are thrown out the window.
On top of that, tomorrow would be my older brother’s 55th birthday, so I face tomorrow, as I always do, with mixed emotions, and fresh grief piled on top. Grief is grief. Grief is also different at the beginning and the middle, and grief is different for everyone who experiences it. No one, and I mean no one, should tell another how they should grieve. Yet, I encourage people to feel their way through their grief and not avoid it, no matter how much time has passed – one hour, or forty-two years.
Sometimes, I can’t wrap my brain around time. It’s been almost twenty years since I last heard my brother’s voice or saw his face but measured in feelings, it feels like yesterday. Grief has no expiration date. I used to think it should have a date where it didn’t hurt anymore, or sneak up out of left field and surprise me, but now I know that will be impossible. Where those minutes and years and feelings and time collide, there is a reminder that I was loved by a brother who also teased and tortured and supported me like most brothers do.
If I try to bypass the convergence of grief, triggered by whatever it just so happened to be that day, I miss out on memories, on reminders of silly or lighthearted moments that grief can never take away.
Throw in 2020 and all of its emotional landmines, and sometimes it’s the perfect storm of emotion. Still, I’ve learned to look at grief as a gift – grief leads me back to people I miss, to moments I cherish, to reminders that make me smile, even through tears.