This is an open letter penned to COVID-19. Dedicated to you. You. The one who lost someone too soon. You. The one who can't hug your dad while he fights for his life. You. The healthcare worker selflessly saving the lives that enter the hospital. You. The parent who lost a job but is still finding ways to put food on the table. You. The victim of domestic abuse who finds it harder to survive with each quarantined day. You. The expecting Mom who will have to give birth without the support of your partner.
You. The small business owner tirelessly trying to keep afloat.
You. Me. Us.
Dear COVID-19, Prior to your arrival, the world was bustling. In New York City, we were just about to welcome Spring. I was longing for that pre-dawn sky. Ribbons of pinks and yellows bursting in the blue, with little wisps of clouds appearing and disappearing at random. When scents of fresh pear and damp earthy soil fill the air, and the warmth of the sun embraces the cityscape. Waiting for new beauty to bloom; even in the shallowest corners of the world. I was longing for that familiar feeling of renewal to take over me. What would have been a time to experiment and explore has become a time of isolation, grief, and trauma. What would have been a time of rejoicing with family and friends has become a lucid nightmare that we can’t seem to wake up from. Your arrival comes with feelings of uncertainty and dysphoria. Not knowing if you have or haven’t yet ambushed my body. Not knowing if my husband and his fellow healthcare colleagues will wake up one morning not being able to breathe on their own. Not knowing if my parents will go to their local grocery store so they can make dinner and accidentally bring you back with them. Not knowing where you are and who you will infect next. But COVID-19, there is a catch. It’s hard to accept this nearly all of the time, but you will pass. We may feel defeated around you, but that doesn’t mean we lost. We may feel anxious about your presence, but that doesn’t mean you control our happiness. We may feel caged while you’re here, but that doesn’t mean you own our freedom. You may run rampant through our cities, but that doesn’t mean you’ll break our spirit. You have taken some of us too soon, but that doesn’t mean you’ll take all of us. I often wonder what state our world will be in when you're not around. You have destroyed many families, you have torn the livelihood of communities, and compromised the well-being of my fellow civilians. I don’t know what more damage you will do, but I do know it will make us stronger. It will not break us.
So COVID-19, you’re exhausting to deal with. I’ll admit it. It’s hard to stay grounded in this reality, but I know it will be okay. I know we will be okay. Because even though some days it’s harder to fight you back, it makes us stronger. We’re intent on winning every time; we have hope to win until the end. Signed, All of us