You have changed us in ways we could have never known. Many of us spent the holidays away from our families, not because of distance but out of kindness for those we love. It’s somewhat paradoxical that we would choose to stay away from those we hold most dear as an act of respect. Yet this year has been just that, a paradox in learning how to transform our “normal” for the betterment of humankind.
This time hasn’t been easy and all of us have handled our challenges differently. At times there was an unfamiliar, lonely feeling that came from not knowing when we could receive our next hug. Birthdays, weddings and graduations were celebrated virtually, through the occasional celebratory drive-by parade or, unfortunately, not at all. New babies and aging grandparents were visited through window panes by masked family members hoping to share love with one another from afar.
It’s hard to believe that there ever was a time before this. When watching TV, we catch ourselves wondering how many people are in a room or why a character is leaving their home without a mask. Yet, there are times we recognize what we have lost, like when we can’t see the grin of the cashier at a grocery store, and instead we only hear the expression of their voice and see the crinkle at the sides of their eyes, leaving us longing for the sight of a smile.
The unexpected extra time we had to spend with those in our homes, to take up new hobbies and to celebrate the outdoors was bittersweet, as it meant that we got to enjoy a slower paced life with more simple pleasures at the expense of life as we knew it. Cold laptop screens became a meeting place for large corporations, yoga classes and even dog play dates. And still, we learned that working from home is just as fatiguing as working in person. A return to comforting activities like playing board games, baking bread and walks became a safe place for us to process the daily chaos of the evening news.
At first, the staggering numbers of deaths were almost too much to handle, with little to be known about the disease and no cure in sight; however, as time went on, death became a sad but true reality. We continue to mourn the loss of grandparents, mothers, fathers, daughters, sons and friends in this season, but are appreciative for the memories we have with them and are hopeful for a healthier tomorrow.
2020, you taught us to hug our families a little tighter, tell our friends we love them after every phone call and treat every moment as if it could be our last. We look back with grateful hearts at the time we got to spend with those we love and some that we lost. Let us never forget to appreciate the little things in life and how love reaches further than the walls and miles that separate us.
By Madison Sholar, Copy Editor