Every corner as far as the eye can see is filled with amber, yellow and crisp orange. Seasons come and go, yet the pandemic still is at our doorstep. Many of us have been required to work from home, cancel vacation plans, avoid family gatherings, and so on. The list of disappointments and frustrations goes far beyond what I can put down in writing. While I have experienced a number of different emotions, as I’m sure many of us have, I’ve tried to stay optimistic in the midst of the storm and I’ve asked myself: What can we take away from all of this? What good could possibly come from this pandemic?
Since the end of March, birthday parties, Easter dinner and family celebrations have been cancelled. Some families are distanced by borders and are still unable to visit their loved ones after months of being apart. This pandemic has no doubt created great strain and frustration for us, no matter where we are in the world. When we were in lockdown last March, I thought a great deal about my family and the time spent together, including last Christmas with my baby nephew, a fourth-generation McKenney, which was a proud moment for my grandpa. This time spent reminiscing has helped me understand that the importance of family is something we can hold on to during this pandemic, even if it seems impossible to do so.
It’s true, we haven’t been able to do the things we used to with our families. That being said, the pandemic didn’t stop us from finding ways to be together. Whether it’s drive-by birthday parties, game nights over video chat or an afternoon sitting at a distance in our lawn chairs, we became masters of creativity in the gloomiest of times.
And then suddenly, we saw a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Over the summer, we reunited with our families and friends. We went back to work. And we tried our best to live a somewhat normal life in the midst of a pandemic. Although COVID-19 was — and still is — present in our lives, we felt some weight lift off our shoulders for a short time. And we spent time with our loved ones after what felt like an eternity apart. The time we were in lockdown made me realize how much my family meant to me. It also made me realize how much we need companionship, connection and affection in our lives.
We don’t know what the future holds as we move into a new chapter in this pandemic. In moments of frustration, I think about my family and the strides we’ve made as a community to connect with our loved ones, both during lockdown and over the summer. I think about Christmas. I remember the proud look on everyone’s faces as we celebrated the holidays with the newest addition to our family. This, along with many other memories about my family, is my motivation. Although this time apart has been difficult, in the end, we will come out of this stronger, more resilient and more compassionate than we were before.