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New Year’s is a time for reflection, for planning and dreaming. A year ago, we were doing a lot of dreaming about vacations, spending more time with friends, growing our business and hitting the gym to try yet another year to get arms like Michelle Obama.
Things that didn’t even cross our minds on Jan. 1, 2020: A pandemic. Face masks, virtual schools and crowded morgues. Never in a million years could we have predicted a year like 2020.
So, at the start of this new year, we are counting our blessings and thinking a little bit differently about our dreams for 2021. We are fortunate to have our health, albeit our arms still need a lot of work. But, we survived, and even thrived.
We realized that we are pretty good at baking banana bread and sour dough bread and yeast rolls and coffee cake and pasta. We learned how to host Zoom Happy Hours and play cards online. We had outdoor movie nights, online book clubs, played games huddled around the firepit. Like so many people, we were forced to get creative.
The sacrifices we are making staying in is nothing to the sacrifices those on the front lines are making, every single day. We read with sadness and disbelief the stories of nurses and doctors trying to save lives of the tens of thousands of people who have been hospitalized. More than 335,000 people have died across the US. A staggering number.
Our friend and writer TJ Banes tells the story of Monia Hammerly, a veteran nurse at IU Health.
“Shift after shift she faces the sadness. She faces family members remotely offering their good-byes. She faces fear alongside her patients,” TJ wrote in a story not long ago.
Anna Kuykendoll, a registered nurse who cares for COVID-19 patients at Fort Hamilton Hospital in Ohio, told The Journal-News how a recent flood of sick people is stretching nursing staffs thin, and the caregivers are getting sick.
“We are like a family and when we see one of our family members hurting, we all hurt,” she said. “We’ve shed many tears together on our floor, at our nurses’ station, in our patient’s room. When we have a patient that passes away, it’s not just our patient, it becomes our ... family’s patient.”
In our homes, we don’t see first-hand the devastation and heartbreak. While we’ve read countless stories about what’s it’s like to work on a COVID floor of a hospital, we’ll never really understand just how difficult it must be.
We can’t fathom being a teacher, trying to remind small children to keep their masks on stay six feet apart, while trying to keep kids motivated and engaged. Going back-and-forth between in-class learning and virtually learning. Not to mention juggling calls and emails from stressed out parents.
So many people work tirelessly to help all of us get through the pandemic the best we can.
To hospital workers, from those who are working triple overtime to keep the hospitals cleaned to those treating patients and comforting family members and to all the teachers who are going into their classrooms day-after-day to teach, encourage and support their students, we say thank you.
Our New Year’s Resolution this year is not about firming up flabby arms or planning exotic vacations. Our New Year’s Resolution is about making sure we’re doing what we can to cheer on those people sacrificing so much to help so many. Thank you for all of you who are giving so much!