Hi, my name is Becke Bollinger. 2020 was very difficult for me with COVID.
I lost a sister pretty early in the event, actually on her 64th birthday last April. Not from COVID, but because of COVID.
She had had major back surgery. And after she was released, they changed all of her appointments to virtual appointments. So no one ever looked at the wound, and they had not realized that the wound had become septic. She called me about a week and a half after she'd been home and said she'd pulled a muscle. And could I come? And I went, and she collapsed within 24 hours, and died three days later.
Because it was not COVID, my siblings and I – there were six siblings – we used to always sing together, so the five remaining siblings were at her bedside, full cap and gown, when they unplugged her machines. And we sang her out with Amazing Grace, and Let There Be Peace On Earth, and You'll Never Walk Alone.
And it was so painful, not just because of her. But because every other room on the ward was basically sealed off. So none of the rest of these patients could have anyone near them. And so it was just so–it was heartbreaking for them, as well as for all of us.
The funeral was very difficult because at the time, the rules were changing constantly. And so we could only have 10 people there – when you have six siblings, and a son and daughter in law and a minister – nobody's spouses could go. And so we feel like we've never properly grieved her. It created a great deal of depression, and stress and anxiety. And I finally, as part of my 2021 moving forward, have been seeing a counselor about it.
I just want to speak up for her because I know the numbers don't reflect her when you talk about losses from COVID. But I absolutely include her as one of the victims of this terrible, terrible virus.
I think the most interesting thing about the last year in the COVID response was just the lack of human contact.
I started seeing people in my office after we started letting more people come into the building. But even that seemed to be a real lack of connection, since we always were making sure we kept our six feet difference – distance. We didn't kibbutz as much. We were always so straightforward. And the masks we're always wearing masks.
The biggest triumph, I think of COVID is, watching as educators, both within my purview as the ed director of a synagogue and the educators across the country whose organization I was leading at the time, found new ways to bring education to kids through the internet. And watched as we worked together as a group to create an opportunity for children to continue their education, even though not in person, and maybe not in the best way.
It took a while, but I started to realize how little travel I've done in the last year. And that's starting to really get to me now, in the hope the vision of flying somewhere outside of the state of Indiana, in the next few months, has become one of the most exciting things. But even more so, the fact that I used to speak a lot of places and do storytelling for people in person. And it's hard to judge an audience when you're just seeing small boxes on a screen or in some cases, no boxes because you're live streamed into an audience that's somewhere out there, but not necessarily connected fully.
I think though, as a culture, we have found a way to adapt across all kinds of spectrums: the religious community, the hospitality community, and even the general neighborhood community have all found ways to take care of each other and find ways to make sure that while, a sense of normalcy may not be where we are – it is something that we can achieve.
Hi, my name is Eunice Delatorre. And I'm here to tell my COVID story. You probably know that.
I don't really have anything super interesting, personally. You know, I've been able to work from home. I live in Indianapolis. So I feel like the restrictions here have been really good and really helpful. And I've been able to work from home going on, basically, exactly a year now, I think one or two weeks from today, actually, is when I got sent home.
So it's been, truthfully, it's been a pretty lonely year. I've been really fortunate to see literally a handful – five people – throughout the year that also work from home, and I trust to be safe. And so seeing them is truly what has kept me sane. Working from home and being able to Zoom a lot of my friends.
The nice thing about this is that this has caused me to actually get in touch with a lot of friends that I hadn't really kept in touch with before because of the availability of Zoom and because of virtual meetings becoming a lot more mainstream, my best friend of six years, Kristin, she was in Bloomington, at, yeah, she lives in Bloomington, Illinois. And I have actually been keeping in touch with her Zooming her every Thursday or Tuesday for a year now. And it's almost like we didn't leave college even though we're not physically together. So catching up with old friends and having a really good excuse has been a highlight of the year.
Working from home – I'm 26, so I'm fairly new in my career. This is only the second job that I've had. But working from home has been a trip. It took me, I'm not kidding, probably about four to five months to adjust. To working from home from working in the office. It took a lot of willpower, a lot of frustration, a lot of feeling like I was inadequate, along with being scared of the virus.
I remember before the virus, first, you know really, you know, before the shutdown happened, I went to Costco and everybody was loading up. And I had just happened to go grocery shopping and I literally put it off for as long as I could. And I made it two to three months without grocery shopping. And I actually had a breakdown. When I decided to go to Costco. I cried because I was terrified that I would catch the virus from somebody who was working there.
Hi, my name is Ladonna Freeman. I got COVID back in the beginning, back in March.
I was sick, Friday, March 13. Stayed home in the bed for about nine days and then went to the hospital on Sunday, March 22, and was in the hospital for eight days. Developed high blood pressure and I developed–became a diabetic, while on COVID. Didn't have that going into the hospital.
Still experiencing and coming up on a year my anniversary's coming up. Still dealing with a lot of anxiety and just some issues, trying to learn how to deal with being diabetic and how to manage my dia–how to manage my diabetes and how to manage high blood pressure.
Just thankful to God that I'm alive and just prayerfully God will restore everything that I've gone through still continuously now.
My name is Bill Spalding. Before the pandemic, I sold tickets at the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, Indiana. When the pandemic hit, the remaining productions of the Broadway adaptation of Disney's The Lion King, were postponed and later canceled, forcing the box office to close and me out of a job.
I finally accepted a temporary position at Teachers Credit Union, but not without a long and hard search for employment.
Another change I've had–I've dealt with has been not being able to go to movies, which is why home media and streaming services are godsends.