We'll Meet Again

Title

We'll Meet Again

Subject

College students

Date

March 13, 2020- November 18, 2020

Contributor

Carly Belich

Text

The impending doom that I felt on March 13th, 2020, was unbearable. It felt as if the world was going to come crashing down around me. In some strange way though, I had a glimmer of hope that the two week quarantine would be it. I was foolish enough to think that I would return to school to finish the semester; I was foolish enough to think that I would be able to go to church on Easter Sunday; I was foolish enough to think that eventually in the year, 2020, life would return to normal. As I wrestle with these reflections now while the pandemic is still raging, some pieces of it still do not seem completely real. Overall, the pandemic has both tested my limits as well as pushed me to do a number of things for which I am very grateful.
As far as limits go, I really believe that being stuck in the confines of one’s home for three straight months tests everyone’s limits. My parents and I are luckily very close, but at times, I think we definitely drove each other a little bit crazy. Our “new normal,” the catchphrase of the entire pandemic, was getting takeout from fast food places and grabbing coffees from drive-thrus just to leave the house in a safe way. In my household, we subscribed to every streaming service throughout the thick of the pandemic in the Spring to pass the time. I think by the time my county finally went green (part of the reopening plan for Pennsylvania), we had finished eleven seasons of Cheers and watched every semi-decent film available on all of the streaming services.
Aside from the absolute dullness and boredom day-in and day-out, there was an absolute sense of sadness surrounding the holidays that occurred in the Spring and Summer months. As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach with only spiking cases in sight, this sense of sadness continues. With my grandfather in a nursing home, I have not been able to visit him since late February. The strain that this has put on my heart is absolutely crippling at times. Since he has dementia, there is a constant fear that when I Facetime him, he will not remember me. I find myself listening to some of his favorite songs from the fifties and sixties to feel closer to him when I feel so very far away.
While I do get to see my grandma because she needs help and cannot be left completely alone, there is always a constant fear that I could possibly pass the virus onto her. Since she is on medication that makes her immunocompromised and has many health conditions, I worry everyday about her health during this pandemic. My worst fear came true when I found out that she had tested positive for COVID-19 after a hospital stay for another health condition. However, she was lucky enough to survive it and I could not be more thankful for that.
I have spoken a great deal about all of the negatives about COVID-19. In some strange way though, the pandemic has afforded me opportunities to make a difference and have happy moments in my life. As a future teacher, I have been given the chance to volunteer to tutor students who are struggling with E-Learning. While I was really nervous to start tutoring, it has been such a rewarding opportunity for me to work with so many students. Being able to offer my gifts and talents to help these students as they experience schooling like never before has been so positive for me. The moments where my students say, “That makes so much sense!” makes me smile from ear to ear that I have been entrusted with this incredible opportunity.
Another great opportunity during this pandemic has been the extra time I have had the chance to slow down and spend so much time with my parents. My mom and I have had more deep conversations than ever before and I have felt like we have bonded more than ever imaginable. I have learned so much about her and I will cherish so many of the laughs and stories that we have shared throughout our time together at home. My dad and I have also had the chance to bond more with this extra time at home. He has been able to share his love of racing with me as well as tell stories about his younger years. I feel like the slower pace caused by this pandemic truly allowed me to almost make up for the time lost in the usual “rat race” of life that we all tend to run.
Currently, as the “second wave” seems to loom over us again, I feel both troubled and excited for what lies ahead. This period of my life certainly has a label of “pandemic,” but I think positives and negatives exist in every piece of a person’s life. I hope to look back on the pandemic twenty years as a time where I got to make a difference for students and bond with my parents. Right now, however, is a different story. I miss my family, my friends, and the life I used to know. As Vera Lynn sang during World War II, “We’ll meet again, Don’t know where, Don’t know when, But I know we’ll meet again some sunny day.” Until that “sunny day,” I will hold onto the hope that someday I will again celebrate someone’s birthday in a restaurant without a mask, see my friends, and of course, give my grandfather a hug again.

Citation

“We'll Meet Again,” Pandemic 2020: An SVC Covid-19 Public History Project, accessed September 25, 2022, https://pandemic2020svc.omeka.net/items/show/96.

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