03/11/2021 of COVID-19 Life: One Year Anniversary

On March 13, 2020, our family officially went into lockdown. We’d read the news of Coronavirus’ spread, heard about the first case in Utah, purchased some toilet paper and water, and been told that everyone in the world would be sitting tight for two weeks. I remember those two weeks-three weeks-four weeks; my …finger-wagging-type friends kept internet-shaming anyone they saw outside. They kept admonishing that, if everyone would simply pull together for those few weeks, we’d be back to normal within the month.

Ha.

Months dragged by. Here, in my introverted world, I felt lost. Sure, I had texting. I had movies. I had my family. Plus, I had writing with my blogging community. The problem was that I had no desire to write. Did anyone else feel that way?

I felt reality knocking, peering, prying into my safe existence. A horrible plague might sneak through our door in the guise of a well-meaning relative or an Amazon package or a container of baby cereal. I had nightmares of said plague in every breath my three-month-old baby took. I pictured each of my children in a hospital bed, gasping for life inside a solid building I wouldn’t even be able to enter.

At first, I allayed my panic by handling what I could. I reached out to others via text or e-mail. We learned about Zoom. And, I loved reading my friends’ blog posts about conditions where they lived. It was morbidly fascinating to be experiencing the exact same, horrid thing everywhere. I shared what was happening in Utah as well.

I also took pictures. I still do. Someday, I’ll compile them; maybe I’ll print a book for my children. I’ve captured signs warning about masks and distancing. I’ve taken phone photos of plastic dividers; ‘samples’ at Costco; bulk goods now pre-bagged; and the absence of cleaning products, water, and toilet paper. What I wish I could photograph, above all, are all the people in masks. Masks at the store; in cars; at school. It’s alien.

Which leads me to current news. The Utah Department of Health says it has dosed 936,681 people with the COVID-19 vaccine. Gov’nuh Cox is pushing to extend our statewide mask mandate beyond the projected April 10 date, based mainly on his insistence that we get more people vaccinated. At the middle school where I work, we were told that masks would be required in schools till July 4. We may, however, be considering moving back to traditional delivery of school lunch -i.e., serving on plates and trays instead of handing out Styrofoam clamshells.

The numbers are dropping.

The verbal rain check I gave my oldest for his birthday party last year just might happen this time around. Maybe we’ll go on a vacation somewhere without cows. And maybe, just maybe, we can walk into a grocery store without a face covering -all of us- fully smile at a friend we see, and even hug them.

©2021 Chel Owens

70 thoughts on “03/11/2021 of COVID-19 Life: One Year Anniversary

  1. that is a very encouraging graph, Chel. Very strange times indeed. Except for a few days way back when mask wearing was not obligatory, we have had our faces free. But then conditions favoured us: we are an island continent, population density compared to European and US cities is low, and except for Victoria, the basket case alongside us, our numbers have been very low to zero for months on end 9except for those in hotel quarantine]

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          1. it’s complicated;travel between some states then a number of infections are found in one then the borders are closed again — but fortunately Queensland was open to South Australia so my daughter came to visit last weekend; situation is somewhat unstable; it’s hard to keep up with — not that I’m bothering — I’m happy to stay put in my own little State for a while — between Australia and NZ was on for a while now that’s closed again because NZ had two infections … and so it goes

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  2. One year later, things are definitely starting to look up! Of course, my husband and I are wary as our county has gone back and forth between lockdown and reopening, but I’m so ready for this to be over. I hope things continue to improve in your area!

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  3. We are grateful for modest signs of improvement.

    Two more weeks until our second shots (for my wife and myself). Fortunately, we’ve been blessed to see our kids and grandkids regularly during the pandemic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad!! I felt too paranoid about the risk to visit anyone at the beginning; as no one seemed to contract it, we began visiting during periods of health.

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  4. As I’ve gotten older, the years seem to zoom (no pun intended) by. Then, we got to this year, and everything came to a grinding halt. It’s been a tough year. My mother-in-law passed at 97 about a month ago (not Covid related). Even though her mom lived a full life, my wife has struggled with her passing. I think a lot of it has to do with the inability to grieve in normal ways. We’re holding off with a Celebration of Life until a later date. We also had to put our precious yellow lab, Jake, down when his cancer spread rapidly. Best dog we’ve ever owned. We’ve only been able to see our son once in the last year. I could go on, but we’re still here, and more than half a million in the United States haven’t been as lucky. It does feel like we’ve started to turn the corner, though it’s had to be cheery when over 1,000 Americans are dying each day. (not to mention all of the other people around the world.) It was nice to see school children laughing and playing as I walked past schools this week.

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    1. I agree, Pete. Didn’t your son get COVID? Do you plan to visit him this summer?

      School has been so difficult. I cry whenever I gently mask my first grader and watch him go skipping off with other such alien-looking children.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He has been in quarantine twice, but he never tested positive. I may have told you he coaches college football. Tomorrow will be their first game in sixteen months since the season was postponed twice. No spectators can attend, but we can stream it online.

        Kids are amazingly resilient. It will be a day to celebrate when the facemasks come off.

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  5. The other day I hand sanitized my hands, then I was eating some ice cream. I got some ice cream on my hand and licked it off and my tongue was numb for an hour. It kinda made me wonder if stuff that can make your tongue go numb should be on your hands but I think the hand sanitizing habit I developed may have helped me ward off the rona. I’m surprised I was lucky and never got it. In conclusion, it’s like swimming, wait an hour to eat after hand sanitizing. Although if you have an hour you should just wash your hands.

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    1. Oh, man. Sanitizer will kill ya. You’d think that after we stressed about the Tide Pods, we wouldn’t turn around and make the school kids rub alcohol on their hands before eating lunch every. single. school. day! I’ve wished for a hand-washing station whenever I see that.

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  6. We are hoping for the same in our little corner of the world. I also had difficulty writing and reading when everything started. I still feel a little off with my writing. Hopefully, we will find some normalcy in the months to come!

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  7. Can relate to you on not feeling like writing, I did other things but 2020 was difficult. The hardest part for me was the 100s of different opinions and stories online. My mental strength has alway been my greatest attribute but the last 12 months have tested me.

    I think the main lesson I have took out of it all is what really matter, family friends health and freedom. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, yes! So many opinions all across the board; so many fantastic people writing vitriolic responses and even a handful who slammed the internet door on me. *sigh*

      Your perspective is spot-on.

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  8. It is a long time isn’t it. It’s been bad here in the UK. It been a long drag through three long lockdowns, no Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Dayx2 or even just meeting family, seeing grandchildren. We lost hubby’s mother to Covid, just after her 100th birthday, our middle son had covid over Christmas. All we could do was drop off some food and wave through the window. I was in and out of hospital last year, non Covid related. Things are slowly opening up now but I fear that will cause another surge. Still we’ve had our first Vaccinations, our two older lads are due next week and I hope our youngest and his wife will not have to wait too long.💜💜💜 Take heart Chel and fingers crossed we will all get there.💜💜

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  9. It’s been quite a year in lockdown. I am hoping for the best but I worry about foolish people and selfish governors which might raise infection and put us back in lockdown. I long for a chance to go to lunch with my friends again. To see people and hug my grandchildren. Recently, my fellow retired teachers and I started meeting in zoom meetings once a month. That has been great fun. We have all been lonely. And that has been a great way to connect. We are in group texts and most of us have been able to get the vaccine. We are grateful we are all alive as we all have lost friends or family members to COVID-19.

    In Florida we have a governor who doesn’t seem to believe in science or masks so he removed the mask mandate but thankfully many cities still have the mandate in place. In my county now we are experiencing a rise in children’s cases. My niece teaches in the school where I taught before I retired. She had a baby a month before the pandemic began, took her allotted time off and expected the pandemic to be over when she returned from maternity leave. We all know that this virus was more deadly than we ever imagined and we are still suffering a year later.

    Sadly my niece was forced to go back into the classroom or lose her job. Yes, that’s Florida for ya. Many teachers retired early for fear of being infected or infecting their families. Some sued the school board and the governor. A friend of mine, who I taught with for years, got very sick from covid and was hospitalized, was in a coma and had to relearn how to walk, how to breath, the list goes on. She’s been on CNN and other news sites as a miraculous survivor . She fought the school board and is teaching from home. She uses a walker, her voice is raspy and she is still recovering with physical therapy. The good news her boyfriend stuck with her and she just got married. So there is a happy ending of sorts. She has a long recovery ahead, but she won’t be doing it alone.

    My niece Went back to teaching and two of her students came down with covid and she was sent home in quarantine as were her students. One student had responsible parents who contacted the school and the children were also isolated. But her other student had been in school spreading germs for over a week and his parents never called. When that child was eventually hospitalized the health department stepped in after being alerted by the hospital and they called the school. I wonder how many other parents never bothered to let schools know thus infecting other children. Meanwhile, both my sister’s grandchildren were sent home from preschool because covid is now rampant at their preschool. And so the preschool has everyone in quarantine. Little ones are now getting sick. Sigh… and their parents were also quarantined and can’t go back to work. But our Fl governor lifted the mask mandate. I don’t get it.

    I pray these new relaxed laws don’t re-spread the virus. Spring break is upon us and Florida will soon have hundreds of unthinking college kids partying on our beaches spreading the virus. A friend of mine who I went to high school with is a doctor. He face timed the other day and broke down and cried. He came out of retirement to help treat covid patients. He spent hours trying to get a young woman’s insurance to cover various procedures and was turned down. Insurance companies can’t afford to keep healing and approving expensive procedures because people keep getting sick with the virus.

    The message from me is. No matter how frustrating this is. No matter how much we long for our freedom… please be safe. Wear your masks. Get your vaccine when it becomes available. This won’t be over until the CDC says it’s over. Be safe y’all. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are the real stories, and the reason we mask. I try to gently explain that to my friends who feel strongly that it’s again their freedoms, because you never know if you’re going to be a carrier or if you’re influencing others (who are sick and should definitely wear a mask) by your example.

      I’m happy you have your group and are doing so well, Lesley! I love hearing from you! ❤

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  10. I feel for you, Chel and still people are saying it’s just the flu or whatever…it’s made me not to want to go on FB etc as there are so many self-professed doctors and scientists it’s scary. Although we have few cases here the restrictions still stand and I was hoping that my family could come over for my birthday in September and now they are saying they may drop restrictions on 1st October. I don’t know where this will end as vaccinations have been stopped here due to adverse reactions by some people and t seems some other countries are doing the same…sigh…Take care and hang in there 🙂 x

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  11. With all of the hoopla about masks, I feel that we have neglected the casualties which have been dealt to good food. Before COVID you could get wonderfully crisp and greasy pizza at a convenience store: each individual slice laid on aluminum foil and placed on the heating rack. Now the pizza is in styrofoam containers, and it’s soggy. I revolt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too right you are. Panda Express has ousted the ham from their fried rice, Little Caesar’s AND Costco no longer offer a ham and pineapple pizza, and we can’t even offer lettuce in school lunches that include tacos or a hamburger. 😥

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  12. I still feel half creative.. I am making the most of what I can but it’s like baggage weighing down on the shoulders that’s incessant, won’t let up.. I too want to see the smile and hug no problem.. Have an awesome weekend

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  13. I think it sucks that I can’t get the vaccine just yet. I fit in the category of being obese and I also had Covid in the very beginning…Before masking was a thing. I think an elderly co-worker had it from December of 2019-To February 2020. I felt like shit from February – April 2020 testing positive on my 50th, I think it truly sucks that all appointments are full here where I live in Pennsylvania. Happy that my Frontline home health aide wife was able to get hers but steamed. I look forward to not having to wear a mask, but I will hold onto them when this is all over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, you should have had it. I could have gotten it because of working at a school, but felt like the teachers and nurses and such should have first shot.

      I’m sorry you’ve felt so terribly and hope you’re able to get the vaccine very soon.

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  14. “The problem was that I had no desire to write. Did anyone else feel that way?”

    Yes, me. I’ve had a lot of thoughts running wild in my head this past year – some of them even good – and I couldn’t bring myself to write about them. Forget blogging, I couldn’t even bring myself to journal. Or even scribble. On the positive side, over the last year I managed to fall back in love with taking photos, I pretty much quit going on Facebook, and I discovered Instagram.

    I think I’ll continue to carry hand sanitizer and wear a mask in public for a long time. Even when COVID is a memory, people will still be filthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my. People are very filthy. I thought of you when I wrote about not feeling like writing. Will you share your photos? I’m not onInstagram, but Kevin is. You could e-mail me your info.

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  15. 💕 Don’t forget the water fountains with plastic bags on them and the arrows directing traffic in the grocery stores. 🙄 I’m more and more convinced the lockdown was all for nothing . Have you seen the open letter and interviews by vaccine expert Geert Van Bossche (worked for Gates foundation ) saying that mass vaccination is going to cause the vulnerable to be even more vulnerable and what we really need is herd immunity ? The plot thickens.

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    1. The lockdown was an attempt to slow the spread. I felt that those parroting that phrase didn’t understand that the virus would still spread… I remember metropolitan areas like NYC where they had refrigerated trucks parked outside the morgues; it was too many dying too quickly.

      So, yes, herd immunity may work in the right situations. I think Utah might be one since the state has a younger population overall.

      COVID accelerated losses and permanently affected the longtime health of many. Do we have a determinant for who will be that negatively affected?

      I have no easy answer for those who are not so reactive to the virus not losing regular life versus those deeply reactive wanting others to not spread coronavirus to them. :/

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  16. The end is indeed in sight!!!! We feel it here too, Chelsea, even though Oregon hasn’t done as good a job as Utah with getting vaccinations out. Hanging in there just a little bit longer makes a lot of sense. Why mess it up as we head into the home stretch? If we all do our part, this is going to be an awesome summer.

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  17. 2020 was the year I couldn’t write. Things are improving on the writing front because I’m no longer obsessively reading up on all things covid. There is light at the end of this damn tunnel. Stay well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Not wishing to dampen any parades… but at lease in our area there are a bunch of folks who don’t want to get vaccinated. The vaccine isn’t the cure. It is just some relief to get you through the virus if you get it.

    While some of the schools are now being told three feet of space between desks is ok… do we really want to risk the variants getting a strong hold when we don’t have the original under control?

    While mask aren’t comfortable… there are still places I’d be wearing them (large crowds). As for hugging strangers… I think I’d like to get to hug my family first. I guess it depends on age and health.

    The other day I saw a bunch of teens (not a one was wearing a mask) – too close for comfort. I know that age block hasn’t been vaccinated yet. But life has more than just Covid to worry about. Due diligence needs to be put in practice for what ever life gives us human beans.

    Travel? In country… maybe, out of country…not for a while yet (maybe even years). While I do try and have a positive outlook – I’m also practical and just a tad skeptical.

    So, stay safe and sane. ((Hugs)).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen these things as well, Jules. I, for one, am still hesitant to get the vaccine. If it were recommended by my doctor to protect my children, I would definitely get it. Of course, I am in favor of masking but know many people who see it as a violation of freedoms.

      I work at the middle school, where (as you said) I see varying levels of caution in the distancing and mask-wearing. Most of the kids don’t mind getting close. Most pull masks off when outside or eating -which is permissible, of course, but silly when they’re eating closer than they’re supposed to.

      I would definitely hug family before strangers. 🙂 I just miss that openness. I feel like we have to be so careful….

      I’m hoping my sanity is still in place! You stay safe and sane, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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