Pandemic Journal: It’s Been (One Heck of) a Yr

My first Pandemic Journal article was printed on March 7, 2020 – a yr in the past, just some days after getting back from RootsTech. Speak about dodging a bullet.

I nonetheless suppose a number of of my buddies had Covid at RootsTech, and after. In fact, we didn’t understand it on the time.

In that article, I defined the signs that each dwelling human on earth is aware of by now, and drew parallels with the Spanish Flu pandemic a century in the past.

I nonetheless keep in mind the individuals who stated I used to be overreaching and fearmongering and was irresponsible. How I want that they had been proper.

In fact, again then, we couldn’t get diagnostic checks, didn’t know if face masks had been efficient (they’re) and didn’t know precisely what to do.

Since then, we’ve made masks by the hundreds, shipped them throughout the nation by the boxfulls to entrance line medical groups and important employees, and remoted ourselves to guard ourselves and others.

Hand sanitizer has turn into a present of affection and the Amazon driver or meals supply particular person is the spotlight of your day, week and month.

By no means, ever in my wildest desires or most horrible nightmares did I count on what has occurred, nor that we might nonetheless be isolating a yr later.

Are we perched on the sting of one more surge as increasingly more folks have fun “opening up,” gathering once more, and going maskless?

I don’t know. I certainly hope not, however given the variants and the comprehensible “pandemic fatigue” happening, I worry that we’re.


This New York Occasions monitoring graph reveals new every day circumstances together with the 7-day common of latest Covid circumstances. On March 8th, a yr in the past, we had 119 new circumstances. At this time, we’d be thankful for that quantity.

Take into consideration the truth that 119 circumstances had been sufficient to start isolation.

At this time, a yr later, we’ve 40,000+ new circumstances, simply in the present day.

I’m positive you’ve seen that we’re method, WAY greater when it comes to new circumstances now than we had been once we started the shutdown initially. But, some states have eliminated restrictions completely and lots of others have loosened them considerably.

Sadly, we had been by no means completely shut down throughout on the similar time, and the virus burned and continues to burn its method all through our inhabitants, stitching demise in its path. The grim reaper, certainly.

Greater than half one million souls have perished – and it’s not over.

We’re maybe within the third quarter of the sport, however we aren’t but victorious.

Devastating Loss

A few months after the primary article, I printed one other the place I stated that not solely had my cousin’s uncle died in an assisted dwelling facility, however that my good friend’s neighbor, a 6-year-old woman, had died.

Individuals requested if this was “actually” true, clearly doubting. Once more, I want that they had been proper.

That was adopted shortly by my good friend’s mom’s demise from Covid. Then, increasingly more and extra folks. So many extra.

Now, I think everybody is aware of not less than one one who has succumbed and much more who’ve been unwell.

To this point, I’ve misplaced 7 relations to Covid, except I’ve forgotten somebody. I ought to have began an inventory. How unhappy is that.

As I write this, my cousin’s husband is recovering, and my cousin herself continues to be gravely unwell, three weeks into their sickness.

One cousin misplaced each dad and mom inside two weeks.

One other good friend misplaced her mom and step-father inside per week of one another.

My husband misplaced his greatest and longest good friend in January and couldn’t attend the funeral.

I’m ashamed to confess I’ve misplaced rely of the folks I do know who’ve been devastated by this life-altering sickness and demise. Each single one who dies or is severely debilitated has relations who love them – whose lives won’t ever be full once more.

The demise rely could also be 525,000 and counting, however the grief rely is far, a lot greater.

And people numbers don’t even start to account for the long-haulers. I do know a number of and lots of are younger, of their 20s and 30s. A yr in the past, “long-hauler” was a time period we weren’t even conversant in. It didn’t but exist. Now the time period does and the long-term results of the illness as nicely. There’s nonetheless a lot we don’t know.

We nonetheless can’t afford to take probabilities.


Regardless of this, I’m actually giddy in the present day.

We’ve totally vaccinated about 10% of the inhabitants.

About 20%-ish have had not less than one vaccination.

The CDC issued their First Set of Guidelines on How fully Vaccinated People can Visit Safely with Others, here.

I’m truly going to get to see my household quickly.

However I’m not, and I repeat NOT going to have interaction in dangerous behaviors that put others in danger. I’m nonetheless going to keep away from public areas and put on my masks to guard my neighborhood and others.

I don’t need to die, however I don’t need to be accountable, whether or not I do know it or not, for infecting others and killing another person. Everybody acquired it from another person and most of the people don’t know who, when or how.

The vaccine improves your chanced immensely, but it surely’s not 100%, and other people can nonetheless turn into contaminated. Even in the event you don’t understand it, the extra of the virus that’s on the market replicating, the extra probability of a brand new, extra lethal, variant occurring.

We completely HAVE to get forward of this and each little bit helps.

Social Media

Social media has been the proverbial double-edged sword this previous yr. It spreads vital info but in addition, simply as simply, misinformation that individuals are prone to consider.

It’s ironic – the ying and yang of social media meant that I came upon that cousins had been unwell and died that I won’t have identified about beforehand, not less than not as rapidly. I checked always to see if there was any information about their circumstances.

Social media can also be the medium that has allowed me to attach with those self same relations rather more real-time.

In a really substantial method, social media has allowed me to outlive this pandemic with out feeling completely remoted!

There are at all times cat and canine and quilt footage to sooth the soul.

One in every of my good buddies, Appalachian storyteller, Stephen Hollen, has written and printed a chapter of a narrative each single day. And sure, I imply actually each single day – for greater than a yr now. Bless his soul is all I can say. Gave me a cause to open my eyes on days when every thing else appeared endlessly bleak.

The Vaccines

I cried tears of pleasure. Tears of reduction. I didn’t anticipate such an emotional response to a shot. I couldn’t wait to roll up my sleeve. And sure, I had minor uncomfortable side effects with the second – however completely nothing in comparison with Covid which is totally terrifying.

Hopefully, the vaccines will defend us each individually and as a inhabitants – as long as sufficient folks take the vaccine. We have to attain that critically vital herd immunity.

However vaccines aren’t 100%. We don’t know if inoculated folks can nonetheless unfold the illness to others.

If we nonetheless get sick, even with the vaccine on board, it’s actually potential that we might be left with debilitating long-haul signs.

We nonetheless must take precautions to not expose ourselves and others unnecessarily.

That vaccine is what’s permitting is to regularly broaden our horizons as soon as once more.

I noticed my daughter in a car parking zone, outdoors, in December and my son-in-law briefly a few weeks in the past. That’s been it for months and months aside from waving at neighbors.

Spring is rising and I can hardly wait to go for a stroll with my kids and truly sit down and have a meal collectively. I’m tremendous with that meal being in somebody’s residence. I simply must see my household of blood and household of coronary heart once more.

I certainly hope that by summer time or possibly the vacations in 2021, that issues can safely return to one thing resembling regular – no matter that new regular can be.

Yr Misplaced – Or Yr Gained?

Some individuals are referring to the final 12 months because the yr misplaced. We marvel if we’re going to get up out of the unhealthy dream, and if that’s the case, will we nonetheless be in the identical time and place we went to sleep, or will we get up someday sooner or later or previous. Is that this collective “unhealthy dream” ever going to finish? I guess our ancestors felt the identical method at varied factors in historical past.

This previous yr has been dystopian, that’s for positive.

However, is it actually a yr misplaced?

I choose to consider it barely in another way.

For Some, It’s Perpetually

For many who perished unnecessarily, it’s not only a yr misplaced – it’s their whole lifetime of alternative gone ceaselessly.

For them, it’s not a yr, as a result of there is no such thing as a restoration. No redo. No reconsidering their habits in the event that they took unwise dangers and misplaced the Covid-roulette.

I’m notably devastated for many who did “every thing proper,” adopted all the foundations, and acquired it anyway. Life will not be at all times honest.

I’ll proceed to gentle candles to honor their lives and maintain their households shut in my coronary heart.

I may also proceed to take precautions to scale back the variety of candles that should be lit.

Yr Gained

For these fortunate sufficient to be studying this, we haven’t misplaced a yr – we gained not solely this yr as a result of we’re nonetheless right here, however the remainder of our lives – assuming we handle to proceed to keep away from Covid. We’re the fortunate ones, regardless of how crummy this yr has been.

Sure, the fortunate ones.

Don’t misunderstand me – together with everybody else, I’ve grieved misplaced relations and misplaced alternatives.

  • Holidays with household
  • Seeing buddies
  • Quilting with my quilt sisters
  • Quilt retreats
  • Family tree conferences
  • Journey

Many have misplaced jobs and revenue as nicely, gravely affecting their households.

However, for essentially the most half, in the event you’re alive, you’ve got the chance to regroup.

The key phrase right here is “alternative.”

I had a troublesome time adapting to isolation. Fortunately, I’m quarantining with one other human and somebody I get together with fairly nicely. Plus, my fur household, in fact.

I by no means realized how a lot I miss folks.

My husband and I’m going on a weekly drive-through Culver’s lunch date the place we choose up meals, then drive to the grocery retailer car parking zone down the block, park and have an in-car picnic.

We watch folks come and go.

A number of months in the past, a buying cart was plowed right into a snowbank and sure, we’ve been going weekly now to observe the pile get bigger and now to observe it soften out. Hey, look, we discovered one thing else too!

You understand I simply had to do that, proper? Let’s face it, it hasn’t taken a lot to amuse us throughout the previous few months. Something that made us chortle was a very good factor!

Do you see it? The place’s Carto? Like every thing else this previous yr, issues acquired a bit worse earlier than they’ve begun to get higher.

If you happen to’re laughing and considering that is about as thrilling as watching paint dry – you’re proper – but it surely provides us one thing to look ahead to. A psychological break. We joked that sometime we are going to keep in mind these dates fondly. Possibly these good outdated pandemic days.

When one in all us is gone, these can be priceless to the one left remembering.

The important thing right here is that we, these of us who survived this yr, have the chance to recollect what we did throughout the pandemic. It’s not misplaced to us.

So, right here’s the underside line – in the event you’re alive and survived – you’ve gained a yr and the chance to do one thing with the remainder of the years of your life.

How Are You?


In case your first response was “I’m tremendous,” however you stated that since you’re tremendous in comparison with folks with Covid, and also you truly really feel like crap – you might be in all probability affected by pandemic fatigue.

You’re probably not tremendous, you’re “pandemic tremendous,” which is completely completely different.

I feel I’ve cried not less than as soon as each single day for the previous yr – not less than as soon as. The unhealthy information simply retains coming and we really feel so helpless.

Fact be instructed, within the US and international locations which can be locked down, I don’t know how one can NOT endure from this in some kind. If you happen to’re within the science behind this phenomenon, the article, The Pandemic Changed You. It Also Changed Your Brain explains so much and should allow you to perceive why you’re feeling the best way you do.

Feeling Higher

I’ve discovered three issues that assist us really feel higher.

  • Music – Discover your favourite songs on YouTube and make your self a playlist with the hyperlink under every video.

You possibly can then play these from anyplace. Right here’s one of mine You’ll discover extra scattered by means of the hyperlinks on this article. Share with me a few of yours! 😊

  • Motion – Stroll. Round the home, up and down the road, upstairs and downstairs. A treadmill possibly. When do you could do that essentially the most? Once you really feel the least prefer it. Motion releases “good pure medication” into your bloodstream.
  • Dance – Dance like nobody is watching. As a result of, actually, nobody is. Put that outdated disco favourite, Celebrate, or no matter strikes you (pardon the pun), in your playlist and begin twirling in the lounge, within the driveway or possibly within the yard. Warning, this will serve to entertain your neighbors, however hey, beats the heck out of watching buying carts soften out of the snow.
  • Books – You possibly can lose your self in a very good e book. Historical past is wonderful when in pertains to a time and place the place your ancestors lived.
  • Do One thing for Somebody Else – In my case, I make “care quilts” and take part in different volunteer work that I can do from a distance. My husband is a CERT staff member and has been volunteering to assist in the vaccination course of for a number of weeks now.
  • Pet One thing – Not solely will your furry member of the family love this – you’ll too. For them, this has been a WONDERFUL yr with you always current. You’re actually all they’ve.
  • Dream – Your bodily actions should still be considerably constrained. However this provides you extra space to dream – and possibly time to do one thing to maneuver you in direction of these desires.

What Have You Been Doing?

What have you ever been doing this yr?

Some folks took the chance to deep clear and reorganize.

I had good intentions, however I just about hate each of these issues, so I didn’t truly get both performed.

  • I wrote a LOT of articles – 154, now 155, to be precise.
  • I discovered tips on how to use Zoom and different platforms to work with others remotely and go to with others.
  • I recorded webinars, convention classes, participated in podcasts and in Fb LIVE occasions.
  • I targeted on family tree.
  • I took a deep dive into genetics – particularly mitochondrial DNA and historical DNA. Extra to return sooner or later on these matters.
  • I made face masks. Tons of and a whole lot of face masks. I by no means need to see one other face masks in my whole life. Sure, I’m nonetheless carrying mine.
  • I quilted for sanity. My sanity.
  • I quilted for others too. Care quilts. Though at one level I needed to delay delivery them as a result of postal points and fears about receiving one thing that is likely to be Covid-infected.
  • I weeded and planted within the backyard final spring, summer time and fall. I hate to weed. It’s type of like cleansing – by no means stays performed. However proper now, I can’t wait to get on the market once more.

I really like coloration and flowers and pleasure, so weeding is a needed a part of that equation.

Colour and solar and heat brings pleasure and together with it, hope.

Hope is the place I’m on the pandemic spectrum in the present day.


At this time, on this one-year pandemic quarantine anniversary – spring has determined to, nicely, spring. That’s extremely ironic, however hey, I’ll take it. Maybe an optimistic message.

It’s within the 50s right here. I can hear the snow melting, dripping within the downspouts, and operating in rivulets down the road.

The yard is soggy in some locations however nonetheless frozen in others.

The sandhill cranes are again. I heard them.

The birds are starting to do “chook” issues that can result in nest constructing.

I simply needed to go outdoors in the present day and stroll within the yard.

It’s heat and sunny and it simply FEELS SO GOOD as I bask within the heat of the great sunshine!!!

Come take a stroll with me.


The labyrinth stroll is so symbolic.

We began down this path a yr in the past not realizing the place we had been going or would wind up – however we had no selection. This journey was not of our personal making.

All we might do was to guard ourselves and survive as greatest we might.

We have to cease and luxuriate in moments of pleasure, of renewal, wherever they seem.

At this time, we stroll to have fun a yr of survival and to say a prayer for these now not with us.

Alongside the best way had been rocks and bumps and issues we didn’t anticipate. The trail was not straight and even.

We navigated as greatest we might. Typically we’d like assist seeing the trail.

We could have had the chance to help others along the way, in particular person, or just about on social media providing help.

Chances are you’ll be the angel another person must make a distinction of their life on the minute you’re in the proper place on the proper time.

We’re all angels for others once we put on masks.

I hope, actually hope we’re rounding the nook on this monster. A few of us have barely prevented catastrophe. Some didn’t.

Simply carry on retaining on – just a bit longer.

Life is returning, slowly rising from beneath the frozen snowscape.

Hope springs everlasting.

We’re not fairly there but, “there” being within the heart of the labyrinth, however the aim is on the horizon.


Oh, this street has been tough and rocky…

With so many obstacles in the best way.

The trail has been slim



We’ve tripped.

However the finish is close by now.

Glory Hallelujah.

Give us power and raise us up so we will lift others!

We will all get there.

If we simply maintain cooperating.

Encouraging one another.

There’s the horizon.

That flag is life.

The prize.


Actions we love.


With out the specter of Covid.

With out taking our very lives in our fingers.

Or another person’s.

We’re winding by means of these rocks

Within the ultimate flip if we keep regular.

We will do that.

It’s the large image that issues.

The tip sport.

Just some extra weeks now.

We’ve come thus far.

Don’t quit.

It’s all worthwhile.

Hold on.

We’re all strolling on this journey…