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I saw this meme about 6 months ago and just FELT it. panDAMNit is correct.

 P.S. The memes in this hellscape have been GOLD

I've realized this week that everyone's "one-year mark" of COVID-19 is different. For everyone, though, it's whatever day that shit got REAL. 

Mine is March 13th. 

A year ago today, our Chancellor sent the email saying, "Anyone who can work remotely should do so beginning Monday, March 16th through March 27th. Those deemed essential should work with their supervisors...". 

A year to the day my DFA came out of her office, looked me in the eyes, and said, "You're essential. Can you be here Monday?". 

I should say here that I work as an administrative assistant/building ops gal on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus where they took this thing VERY seriously from jump.

The days leading up to March 13th were full of anxiety. My email inbox was being inundated with canceled classes and meetings and almost hourly updates from campus leadership. There were whispers of "is this for REAL?" and "what do you think they're going to do?" and "It'll only be a couple of weeks." The buzz in the air wasn't the kind that feels good. 

You know the rest. Two weeks turned into a month that turned into Memorial Day that turned into July that turned into...indefinite.

Here we are. A year later.

I look back and miss those "we're all in it together" days. 

We'd walk in our little town with our newly adopted dog and a cocktail checking out the signs of encouragement in peoples' yards, windows, and sidewalks. The feeling of camaraderie felt comforting in such a confusing time.

I was fortunate to spend a couple of weeks working from home, but quickly became the essential worker alongside a handful of others who truly wanted to help...and keep our jobs. So back to work we went, working all kinds of positions that, just a few months earlier weren't even POSITIONS:

Shower shift attendants supporting hospital frontline workers who needed a place to clean off before going home to their families.

COVD screeners (COVID Mall Cops, really), asking personal questions, taking temperatures, enforcing mask mandates.

I so admire the people in my building who stepped up to help. They didn't question their own safety and just went to work. Remember, in those early days of COVID, not much was known about how it was spread. It was in those days of frustration, tears, confusion, and fear, we formed this little group of "essentials" who lifted each other up. I'm proud to call them my new friends through this.

I grew to hate phrases and words like "unprecedented", "social distancing", and "stay safe".

Who can forget (but wants to) the initial panic that struck every. fucking. possible. shopping. format that lasted WEEKS? It felt like every place was out of everything. 

My personal favorites: hand sanitizer, any type of cleaning supply, and toilet paper. I still curse the assholes who had enough money to hoard those things for their own sakes. 

BTW...I hope your asses were chaffed beyond recognition, jerks.

This last year was full of so much good. And a fair amount of bad. Like any crisis, COVID brought out the best or the worst in people. We experienced our fair share of personal loss of people we thought would be around for a long time. Sometimes, though, these things show you who people truly are. I was reminded that holding on to relationships and people who don't add to your life in a positive way aren't worth holding on to. 

That never ever gets easier. Especially in a time when a connection was needed more than ever. 

Depression crept in slowly. I tried to play it off and do that thing we need to stop doing: telling myself to lock it up because there are people worse off. 

Then one day, I got home from a shower shift at work and crawled into bed. I laid there all afternoon into the evening completely incapable of doing anything else. I spent the latter part of the Spring walking around in a funk, frustrated, sad, and had lost any interest in anything. The world was dark and it felt too heavy to bear. It was time for help.

The pandemic world did have its fair share of the good, too.

I was fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of great health benefits and started therapy with an amazing psychiatrist. (more on him later) With a hybrid working from home model, I've been able to spend time each week in therapy. Sitting in the shit as I like to say...and learning to sit in all that's good, too <-- turns out, THAT is a space I am not naturally comfortable in. Who knew?!

Craig's travel for event activation was very obviously put on hold indefinitely, so he was home more. And we loved that time together. We had just gotten Jerry who was our bright spot more times than I can count. (how the fuck have I not done a Jerry post?!) People showed their love and support for our small start-up, giving us one of our best sales months EVER at the beginning of a total world shut down. We had regular zoom calls with loved ones who we didn't talk to enough beforehand. I talked to old friends more than ever. Those reconnections have been incredible (I love you, cousins!). I found a love of puzzles, old school board games, and we upped our cooking game! Seriously, the New York Times Cooking subscription was the best $4 ever spent. 

This pandemic changed our world and it changed us. I hope we can remember the good that came from this and the lessons learned from the not-so-good.

As the world gradually re-opens and people get vaccinated, I'm just happy we made it. My heart breaks for those who didn't. For their suffering and the suffering of the people who loved them. It isn't lost on me how incredibly lucky I am to have held on to the people I care about when so many people couldn't.

Who knows where we'll be in a year, but I'm hopeful it's a better place with dinners out, sitting at the bar, travel, and hugs. 

Oh, how I miss the hugs!

Thinking of you on my panDAMNit anniversary. Onward and upward!


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