My Dad, COVID-19, and Other Things I’ve Learned Lately

It’s hard to take a deep breath with your mouth covered by a mask. 

In actuality, a thin piece of fabric should not stop anyone from taking a much-needed whiff of oxygen. There’s something about the change of feeling, the lack of air touching your nostrils, that causes anxiety. When you’re in a new situation, it can literally be harder to breathe. 

Everything in life has shifted over the past six months. Yet, the global situation still seems impossible to control. I remember first hearing that the virus had hit my local area. Within two weeks of that news, my dad — quarantined in his room — received a positive COVID-19 test. 

I didn’t know how to feel. The whole world was spinning into a ball of uncertainty. 

Throughout all of this, the pandemic was—and still is—a harsh teacher. It’s taught me things I never expected to learn this way. 

I learned the power of compassion.

Numerous different families found the opportunity to send us gifts, pre-made meals, and text messages. I had friends offer to buy my family’s groceries. Everyone in our community seemed compelled to help us.

I’ve seen people donating masks and sanitary supplies. I’ve seen people write letters to those quarantined and sick so that they wouldn’t have to be alone. 

The virus is still powerful. But the power of compassion gives a spark of joy to an otherwise mournful situation. The power of humanity gives us hope in one another.

I’ve learned that everything can change in an instant—and I’ve learned to be alright with that.

My life is entirely different than it was a year ago. It took less than a month for the entire Earth to shift. Activities are mostly indoors, and if they’re not, they’re spent while shielded with a mask.

Within the comfort of my house, I’ve seen my whole life change. I learned that my best friend was getting married, that I was moving to Europe, and that my dad was sick. And through all of it, I’ve felt how temporary some situations can be. We live temporary lives in a temporary world that is susceptible to change. If we don’t accept change as a regular thing that happens, it’s much harder to live.

I’m not God; I cannot predict the future. My brain is too simple to comprehend the strange twists and turns that happen with ongoing time. But as much as I’d love to change how the world works, I can’t. But I can accept it. 

I’ve learned to live in the present. 

It’s hard to know what the future holds. When will this calm down? Will there be a vaccine soon? At the same time, the situation has made it so difficult to linger in the past while the present holds so much weight. 

The past and future both hold lovely things, but to live completely within one of them are to live in a false reality. The past has already happened, and the future is yet to come. 

Lingering in the past would never help me understand my current state, and the future is too mysterious to hold on to. I’m mortal. Why should I ponder things that, in this vast span of eternity, I cannot change?

I’ve learned to be happy with what I have.

After a long month of anxiety, my dad finally recovered. Gradually, he adapted to living COVID-free. Having my dad back to normal meant having his quirks and his flaws, yet I’d rather have the tiny things that annoy me about him than not have him at all. I’m grateful. 

While he was sick, my family had a lot to be grateful for. We were financially stable to make it through that dark era. We were all together and able to find support easily. We had so many blessings in our lives.

I’m not saying to ignore difficult circumstances and distract them with otherwise happy circumstances. But ignoring positive circumstances and only focusing on the negative stances would be equally bad. Instead, tell the truth about both the bad, and the good, and continue to be grateful.

Keep wandering,

Talk to me! What have you learned in these past months? How has the pandemic treated you?

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Dear Sophia, I am so proud of you and your family for getting through those difficult weeks. Life has a way of screeching everything to a halt, and then you realize how precious life is. Love you!

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