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To Spite A Year Of Covid Loss


Healthy men right around your age

Dying.


You went to work.


“Masks don’t work. Stay in your homes,” they said.


You went to work.


“Ok, wear the masks.” Brought some relief.


You went to work.


Friends, families locked up safely.


You were exposed.

Day after day of all consuming fear.

A fear only some could understand.


It fell on your shoulders and you focused your strength.

I was afraid enough for the both of us.


But, there was no room for it.

The kids needed my courage and nothing more.

And I refused to allow despair to take even a moment of joy from our time.


The days felt numbered.

The minutes could be limited.

They had to have cherished memories

...Just in case…


And you struggled on.

You kept everyone safe:

Employees

Customers

Families

Us.


Every single day you came home late

To a happy family.

So very grateful for another day together.

We decompressed.

And right before we closed our eyes for the night

The fear, the dread of another dawning day

Crept in.


We couldn’t let it in.

There was no option.

Or we’d lose our step.


Some days were worse.

Our risk would rise

The news was nothing but gloom

And everyone around us was safely tucked away.


We were an island.


Some days were better.

A negative covid test meant

We could catch our breath.


Weeks

To months

To a year


We stumbled

We cried

We found balance.

We learned to respect the virus instead of solely fearing it.


Covid waned from a monster, raging and ravaging.

To a wild animal, vicious, yet predictable.


We witnessed our loved ones gain protection

That helped us cope.

Our concern was spread less wide.

We were less isolated.


It all helped

But, we still walk the line

Between living, risking

And hiding, only existing.


Everyone’s journey through covid this past year was hard.

Is hard.

Everyone’s.


Ours is no harder.

Ours is no easier.


Ours is ours.


And, it’s not over.

But, I’m proud.

Proud of how I’ve coped.

When my breath stuck in my lungs, full of panic

I learned how to lean on faith.


I learned how strength isn’t fighting your fate

Strength is surrendering control and trusting each moment

Living as full of joy as possible.


We all enter this world

Every living thing

We all go


I’m here.

Now.

This moment.

And, so that panic that stabbed my chest and made the walls sway

Was banished.


My family grew stronger.

Leaning on no one but ourselves.

Hearts so grateful for each instance of grace that we extended to each other.


When covid wanes

And the survival response recedes

We will be new.


We are new.

We are a force to be reckoned with.


This is our story,

Our journey through covid.


Sweet relief will come in its ending.

I don’t know when.


I know that this spring,

Every bud that I witness bloom,

Every laugh I hear,

Every warm caress of sunshine I feel

I will celebrate it all.


In honor of those who lost.

Those who covid took from us

Or those who covid broke.

I celebrate what I get

To spite the year of loss.


If you’ve been pushed to your limits

And you’re feeling

Helpless

Hopeless

Alone

Ashamed.


So have I.


I can be your friend.


I will smile behind my mask

Because this year of loss took enough.

And, with luck, I had today.