This week marks one year of the first case of Covid-19 in Maine. I remember the weeks leading up to this moment, you could feel this thick layer of apprehension in the air. We all knew other states were being hit, and it was just a matter of time before it came here. I remember going out to get groceries, numerous shelves were empty toilet paper, paper towels, canned goods. I’m not talking a few feet of empty shelves, but the whole aisle. I took a picture and sent it to my husband at work in disbelief. That is when it sank in that something alarming was coming.
The weeks that followed were full of closures. The schools, daycares, restaurants, bars, stores – shut down. The week of March 12, 2020 was surreal. Every time I heard of a new closure; I was in shock. My husband would be on his phone scanning the internet, and would announce, the newest developments. With every new closure, the internal alarm would go off.
In a way, the way in which the events unfolded when the Pandemic first hit the United States, reminded me of the intense emotions of 9/11. I was a Sophomore in College in the fall of 2001. I remember I had the Today Show on as I was getting ready for classes. They broke in and announced that a plane had hit the tower. They just kept saying how sunny and clear of a day it was, and how odd for it to have happened. I went on to all my classes that morning, and I remember by the time I got to my 11:00 am class, all the events had unfolded and we were left to try to digest everything that had happened. That night you couldn’t dial out of the campus, and all classes were cancelled for the next day. They are two very different events in our history, but the parallel is the entire country feeling the same things at the same time: stirring up intense feelings of fear, shock, disbelief, and sadness. Both events created this sense of vulnerability and not knowing what the immediate and long term future would look like.
This week a year ago, our daughter’s daycare was closed and would not open again until late summer. I was working on my writing from home at the time– so I was and have continued to be able to fill that childcare void.
The last year we have spent a lot of time outside taking walks and hikes, going on picnics, doing anything we can to get out of the house, in a safe manner. Luckily, Maine has a lot to offer us in that department. I met some people this summer in Maine that were doing some pretty neat things to stay busy. One couple was trying to go to as many State Parks as possible. Another couple was on the search for the best Lobster Roll and tried a new place each weekend.
We have learned how to do other activities that we enjoy safely and have been happy about slowly integrating a sense of normal back into our lives. More and more folks are getting vaccinated in Maine and around the country, and it does in a way, feel like the beginning of the end of the Pandemic.
Everyone has grown from this Pandemic in some way or another. Some saw it as a wakeup call to slow their lives down. Some, realized they are more homebodies and enjoyed the “downtime.” For me, I recognized how important balance is. On the days that I was able to do things for me, that I genuinely enjoy I felt myself thrive. Unfortunately, like many of us multitasking masters, the days that I can indulge in an activity just for me are few and far between, but I do now realize how important that is. I also realized, the days that we didn’t get outside were the hardest. Fresh air is a magic medicine that can heal your mind, body, and soul. I find the days we are outside; I feel more connected and grounded.
While the Pandemic is hopefully starting to fade, my wish is that we all take what we learned from this grueling experience and grow as individuals, while remembering and recognizing all the sacrifices that were made, to get us to a better place.