Number of Participants: 1
Hours Donated: 8
Value of Time Served: $68
Event Type: Crisis Support
Sport: Track and Field
Date: May 14, 2020
I can’t believe that just a few weeks ago, I was in school with my friends laughing, having fun, and chatting about life. Now I am wondering if I will ever see them again before we go our separate ways after high school ends. The sudden pandemic we are experiencing has taught me things I would never have learned in school. It struck everybody so fast. Everything had just suddenly gone from living a normal life to being stuck inside my house taking classes through my computer with nobody around me. I completely understand that the United States must take certain precautions to prevent the spread of this virus from saving lives.
This was supposed to be the best year of our lives. As far as school is concerned, I feel that I am experiencing the first stages of grief, anger, and depression. Right now, I can’t believe that I was cheated out of my senior year. As I watch the news, I see more states declare school closing for the remainder of the year. I keep hoping my state will not be one of them. Throughout history, almost every kid has said that they wish they would never have to go to school again. Who would have thought that this would be so untrue? I am unable to play my last games of the season or have the opportunity to run that last race with my teammates. I felt that this year we had an excellent chance to go to states. I always believed that I would see the proud looks on my parents’ faces when I walked across the stage at graduation. I realized that missing out on things like the big trip to Spain, senior skip day, and prank day are no longer as important as I thought they were.
One week ago, my mother received a phone call that my uncle had died from this terrible virus. The hospital had to place my uncle in an isolation ward for the safety of the hospital workers and to contain the spread of the virus. The thought of him dying alone, unaccompanied by family members, has haunted my family every day. All we could do was hope that he was fully aware that his family loved him and that despite his circumstances, he knew he was not alone. We are allowed to have a small private wake, but that cannot happen until eight days after his death. The funeral homes are backed up due to the high death rate. It is a nightmare for everyone involved. Shortly after my first uncle lost his life, another uncle of mine was lost to the same virus. The grieving process much more difficult for those left behind. It is depressing for the family because the victims are unable to have physical contact and support during these tough times.
There is an upside to this dilemma. Even though I can’t go to the grocery store without wearing gloves and a mask, nor can I eat at a restaurant with friends and family, I am grateful to see people across the country responding positively during this current crisis. People come out of their houses to cheer our doctors, nurses, and first responders. They wave flags and show their patriotic support to thank those who are putting their lives on the line every day to assist those in need. I see on television how in New York City, the lights on the Empire State Building are lit in blue in their honor. These individuals maintain their will to fight and are risking their lives, and possibly the lives of their families, to save others. The term “essential workers” now has a whole new meaning for me. I understand how people who were once “average” such as custodians, cashiers, grocery workers, medical staff, and truck drivers are now our heroes.
This has made me aware that there are more important things in life other than having a brand new car or the newest pair of jeans. I never thought I would want to cherish every
moment in school. I worked hard for my grades and played multiple sports. The most significant decision on my mind was what college I was going to. I would hang out with friends by going to the movies and to restaurants. Little did I realize I was neglecting something far more important. I am spending more time with my family than I did in the past. My family used to be in all different parts of the house doing their own thing. Now we plan shopping trips and eat meals together at home. We have more time to talk to one another instead of running out the door to get to soccer practice or games. The unexpected extra time we have with one another has helped us develop better skills to deal with life. We are learning how to cope with disappointment and developing new strengths. We have even begun making masks not just to help ourselves, but to display our empathy towards others.
This pandemic has brought my family so much closer to each other. We made it a point to isolate ourselves from outsiders to remain unaffected so that we can stay close with my grandparents. The time spent with my grandparents is worth more than gold. My grandparent’s eyes fill with joy and sparkle that I haven’t seen in a long time as we play games and do things we haven’t done very often since we were little. I am so happy to have these memories with them. If this pandemic never took place, life would have just gone on, and we would have missed out on so many memories and stories that would never have been created. This is a hard time, but I am thankful that my parents, grandparents, and siblings are healthy, especially when so many people are not. I know that sooner or later, this will pass, and we can all reenter the world. Hopefully, this time it will be different, and we will not take so much for granted and learn to appreciate what we have and be so much more thankful.