Just Because We're Physically Apart Doesn't Mean We Can't Be Together
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Dear COVID-19,

You may have stolen our senior years, our graduations, in-person celebrations, and shared moments with family and friends but you will never take away the essence of who we are. These past few months have basically impacted the entire country, whether that was an unexpected early goodbye to best friends and school, losing a job, losing a loved one, or just the toll that following quarantine can take on a person.

We have seen solidarity in suffering and while this virus has certainly induced some of the worst times for people, it has also brought out the best in people.

We have seen communities band together to donate masks and food to healthcare workers who are working tirelessly on the front line. We have seen those healthcare workers and first responders say goodbye to their families, husbands, and kids (possibly for months) as they move towards living in isolation in order to protect their patients. Doctors and nurses offering sessions via telehealth if they can, in order to protect their patients from possible exposure. We have seen restaurants and companies make food donations to try and fuel the heroes that are saving lives. We have seen the bruises the masks have been leaving on the faces of those working to save lives, and we have seen them continue to put their masks on day after day for our protection.

We have seen families, friends, and neighbors band together to help get groceries and other essentials for the elderly or the immunocompromised. We have seen neighbors helping out in the face of lost wages — groceries being dropped on front porches, gift cards being sent to help a person get by. We've see families talking to their loved ones through screens and windows to provide some company for those isolated, especially grandparents.

We've seen churches and other places of worship offering digital and lived-streamed services. We've seen people so dedicated to their faith and tuning in every week to give thanks for all that there still is to be thankful for and to pray for all those that are suffering. We've seen churches working to assist those that still rely on their services to get food, shelter, and other necessities.

We've seen schools and educators work to still provide an education for kids in these unprecedented times. Teachers driving by students with signs just so they know they are missed and loved. Teachers working to engage students online and help maintain some semblance of structure for kids amidst the chaos. Schools working to get food and resources out to the many children who relied on school for their main source of food. We've seen schools try and find a way to honor seniors, kids that have worked so hard for 12 years only to have their well deserved moment of appreciation ripped away from them. We've seen plans for digital graduations and celebrations — although not a replacement, an effort for recognition.

We've seen essential workers go to work with a brave face every day so that we can still get our favorite food for take out or grab a drive-through coffee to get through our day of online school. We still get our groceries bagged and our roads repaired often by people who receive little thanks and low wages (although they are what is holding our society together right now).

We've seen everyday people get together with their friends over FaceTime so that no one feels all alone, call and check on their grandparents, offer to run errands for those that can't, help a friend or neighbor out who has fallen on hard times, pray for people they know and people they don't. We've seen people discovering creative outlets and things to do to ease anxiety, people seeking out ways to help.

In short, we've seen the strength of the human spirit.

So COVID-19, you can and have take away so much but you can never take away the fighting spirit, heart, helpfulness, and love of good people. And there will always good people. We will come out of this stronger, only by leaning on each other and being there to lean on. I hope you go away soon COVID-19, but the human spirit has survived a lot — I know it will survive this.

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