BY R.L. WITTER
It’s been 19 months now. Yes, it’s 2021, but we’re still living with COVID-19. Despite the fact that some people choose to ignore it and are still refusing to wear masks, social distance, or take any precautions, the pandemic rolls on.
As the last days of summer waned, I saw photos of friends on social media going to movie theaters and dining indoors. Pictures were posted of concerts, children returning to school in-person, and plane rides to various destinations. A couple of friends even took an Alaskan Cruise. “How brave,” I thought as I perused their photos. I’ve been on several cruises and as a germaphobe they’re always stressful.
My husband and I were able to eke out a bit of summer enjoyment despite the pandemic. We enjoyed a road trip to California. Of course, I had to sanitize every hotel room and we limited our stops along the way to the bare minimum, but as we walked along the beaches on Coronado Island and in Carlsbad, it was definitely worth the trouble. After more than a year in the house, we were somewhat free. We relished the open road and the Pacific breezes. We even had lunch at a wonderful outdoor teahouse with a friend we hadn’t seen in years.
We returned home feeling energized and giddy. We were renewed by the change of scenery and the joy of warm sun on our skin and gold-flecked sand between our toes. We had spent hours upon hours in the car together singing along to songs from our heyday and admiring the sights that whizzed by our windows. After a week or so we found ourselves less giddy. Our sun-kissed skin began to fade along with the smell of the beach on the seashells we’d brought back with us. We settled back into being home and longed for the liberation we felt during our journey.
Two weeks after returning home I found myself visiting a loved one in the hospital. Thankfully, it was a non-COVID-related illness, but still. Because both the patient and I are fully vaccinated, I was allowed to visit while wearing a mask and keeping social distance. My loved one was grateful for the company as the days stretched past one week and into another.
Outside the hospital room window was a stark reminder: the room number was taped to the window and there was a chair covered with dead leaves and debris. A nurse explained the last patient in the room was not vaccinated, nor were his family and friends. So, they visited through the window and spoke via phone. I am truly grateful for being vaccinated and being able to visit in-person. By God’s grace my loved one is on the mend and life is beginning to resemble something more normal. But we can’t let down our guard; there’s still a pandemic happening.