The Hug… by JoAnn

The last two years have certainly been different. It seems masks, vaccines, boosters, opinions on whether or not to get the vaccine, and distancing ourselves from one another have become our new norm. Or at least it has for my family and me. I for one, HATE IT!

I was feeling quite lonely the other day and thought to myself how nice it would be to have a big hug from someone I love at that moment. I live alone and do not have a significant other. All three of my daughters are grown and living with their spouses and children. Since the pandemic began, I have seen them less and less.

I tried to remember the last hug that I had shared. It had been when I hugged my oldest granddaughter Randi when she came by to drop off something for her mom. It was a quick hug initiated by me. My granddaughters have been warned not to hug me, as I am considered “high risk” due to several ailments that weaken my immune system. I find it very difficult, or downright impossible, to be around one of my granddaughters and not hug them. That’s one of the main reasons why I stay away. I know I will not be able to control myself. It’s the same with my grown daughters. They will forever be my “little girls .”I see them, and it’s impossible for me not to hug them.

I very rarely go out into public settings. But my children and grandkids are out in the world daily. I especially worry about my grandchildren as they are in the public school system. I imagine that to be a virtual cesspool of germs. Most assuredly, Covid germs.

I sometimes wonder if the danger is all in my mind. I see people going about their week like everything is normal. No Covid, no precautions, not seeming to have heard there is still a pandemic. Just as I begin to let my guard down and join them, I read another story or hear of another neighbor or friend of a friend who has become very ill from Covid or its variant. And worse than that, I hear of another death from the monster in this chaos.

I’m tired of not seeing my family as much as I want to and feeling guilty when I do. I’m tired of not having a hug when I need it or offering one. I’m tired of trying to protect my physical body at the cost of my mental health. Am I the only one who feels this way? It seems most days like I am on the outside looking in as everyone else is living their lives as usual. Or are they?

If there ever was a time in my life to say I’m living in “The Twilight Zone,” it is undoubtedly now. And I am beyond ready to change the channel. And if there ever was a time in my life I needed a hug, it is NOW.

The Mask …by JoAnn

I think it would be safe to say that we have all been touched in one way or another by the COVID-19 Pandemic. I have stayed home more than ever before in my lifetime. I’m not complaining, for I consider myself one of the blessed to have not caught the dreaded virus. Each day I read or hear about another family who has been left to grieve for a loved one lost to this ugly virus. This week it was the loss of a beloved pastor who was well known in our area. I attended a church when my children were young, where he ministered. I always enjoyed hearing him, not only preach, but share his talent of singing. I learned a lot from him and was very saddened to hear the news of his passing. This ugly monster named Covid took this dear man in less than three weeks. He was only 45 years old. He passed away in his home, unable to breathe. He left behind a wife, four children, and two grandchildren. What a tragedy.

A loss like this one makes me question, yet again, why so many people are complaining about wearing a mask in public, or around others. It astounds me that people are so selfish, or ignorant. It is difficult to comprehend someone being ignorant after all the months we have had to educate ourselves on the protocol. Every time I turn on the television, someone is talking about Covid and its dangers. Every time I open my laptop, the virus is headline news. Unfortunately, I have also watched many videos online of people having complete meltdowns in public places just because they were asked by management to put on a mask. Grown adults acting like toddlers who don’t want to give up their toy. I don’t understand.      

It has always seemed to me that wearing a mask is one of the simplest things each of us can do to protect ourselves and others. Nurses and doctors have done it forever. What’s the big deal, right? Well, apparently there are just as many people who don’t want to wear a mask, for whatever reason, as there are who are willing to wear a mask.  

I live in a small rural town, surrounded by many other small towns, and even though there is a sign posted on every public building explaining the need to wear a mask inside because of the mandate, I have witnessed with my own eyes, more people unmasked than masked.

I do not know exactly why the rules are not being followed or enforced. 

I can’t help but wonder if just one person had worn a mask, would that lovely man still be here to minister to the flock he so dearly loved?  That is a question for which we will probably never know the answer.  

I hope each one who reads this is taking the simple precaution to stay safe and wearing a mask. My purse holds extras. 

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