Hidden heroes of the pandemic
During the pandemic last year those who could – left work offices and went home to save themselves. Others willingly left their homes to save everyone else.
Some of these people were obvious, others hidden – all essential.
In reverence to all individuals who risked their own health for others, this story is told from the perspective of one woman about her family – heroes one and all. You have our sincerest admiration for your strength, courage and selflessness. Thank you.
Mostly, I miss my family.
I’ve experienced them as sound and images on screen for so long now I have forgotten what it is like to be with them in real life. They’re smart, resourceful. Funny, irreverent, difficult and full of surprises. So many stories in their lives I have missed, played out against the backdrop of sirens and syringes, ventilators and death. I miss the normal cadence of what was. Dropping by unexpectedly, sunny days in the yard, Sunday supper with all drawn close.
I miss…my sister who had to leave her job when schools closed returning to care for her special needs child. She lost her army of support when in-home care and special education after-school clinics closed. Our extended family, many of whom had health issues could no longer visit to assist her. Her husband, a doctor was gone most days and evenings offering only a temporary reprieve. Although I checked in, her stress was evident and her endless exhaustion quietly reflected on screen. Caught between her uplifting positive messages and smiles I knew she was struggling. You would never know it – she would never show it. It was all good. Just ask her.
My youngest brother who still lived at home with my parents, worked in the local grocery store. Most evenings he worked long hours stocking shelves with whatever supplies came in. Other days he was a cashier. He doubled as a cleaner – taking shifts and great care to wipe down the entire store and where others touched – continuously. He was young and strong but vulnerable. This past year, reality aged him. Matured him really.
My single cousin who lost her job, her health insurance and her home. She is now living with and caring for my grandparents. My grandmother has dementia. My grandfather is in a wheelchair and my cousin -- overwhelmed.
They say I am a hero. I feel more like a bystander, witness to a surreal mass carnage. The vaccine has arrived. Thank God. Hope for millions of people I hope to never see.
2021…this is the year I left the shadow of the ICU and stepped out into the sun.
I won’t miss my time there. I am looking ahead to Sunday suppers again where my family will share the stories I have missed. It will be good. Just ask them. Yes, 2021…will be a very good year indeed.