Featured Entries

Each week, we post a few journal entries that participants have given us permission to share anonymously.

In your journal, you can write whatever you want, however you want. When we feature posts, we want to protect confidentiality. Here's our policy:

  • We won't post any photos that include faces (even with masks!) or names.
  • We won't post audio that includes names or more than one voice.
  • We might edit text entries slightly to remove proper names – but this won't change anything you've written in your journal.
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

We're celebrating the one year anniversary of my husband's liver transplant, June 2020.His entire medical team was determined to make this happen, even at the height of the pandemic. And now, we're already one year into his recovery.

Today, the pandemic doesn't over-shadow us. It's in the shadows behind us. My husband will always have to be more cautious than others with his suppressed immune system. But now we feel like we can breath.

The lesson I practice everyday is to find joy in this day, even though my husband will always be chronically ill, even though we live with a pandemic. Time keeps moving on no matter what. We can mire in what we've lost, or we can reach for the joy. Each person must find their way through whatever dark hour is theirs.

Think about something really important that happened to you this week, and tell us about it.

In the face of several family crises at once, where I found myself literally running and doing as much and as fast as I could to take care of two people in crisis, here's the important thing that happened:

I remembered that God (or the great spirit or nature or whatever, call it life - I'm still unsure) well I remembered, I found out (again) that just because I think I'm old enought to be done with major troubles in my life, I'm not. There's things I need to learn, and I am being called to rise to occasions I thought I'd never have to again face, or am facing for the first time ever.

No one has died, or been seriously injured. The crises and changes may ultimately lead to progress and new understandings. Or maybe not, and I'll have to accept that new reality.

So ok. I do have support, loving husband, and family and friends. I'm safe, most of my relatives are safe and healthy. It could be much worse, but as a friend said recently, its not "the pain Olympics," meaning who had the most pain to go through "wins" the prize for most stressed. Also I remember another friend who said that I don't have to dismiss what I'm going thru just because others have it so much worse. Yes, count my blessings. Ok. But it's also ok to understand that a whole lot is being asked of me right now.

Are you an "essential worker"? If so, what do you most want people to understand about your work during the pandemic?

As an educator, I put in 10-12 hour days and am exhausted between the data collection, meeting all of my students where they are at, having a 4-5 grade level spread even though they are all in same grade. I am tired and need a break to replenish. I feel like I have personally invested in my 23 students growth and development. They are all only 7-8 years old and I am exhausted. From working with my 4 screens to then doing extra. It is all well worth it, but just know there are people who care, who genuinely work unpaid overtime as a means to make sure every child's needs are met to the best of their ability.

It is difficult. Challenging. The work form this year has me reflecting how as a teacher and educator I have adapted, transformed and changed myself. I have been able to change those around me. I was teaching middle school and high school last academic year, this current year I took a leap of faith since there was a shortage of elementary teachers. I had NO idea what distance learning would get me into. But I am forever grateful for it all because I have become a stronger person from it. My kiddos have been able to learn and grow across many subjects. I am proud and will miss them as they move onto the next grade. I get to meet them in person for the first time tomorrow! What a joy. But I also know I won't get to meet them all due to Covid. So I will do my best and go from there. Only 6 days of teaching left and I can take this summer to reflect, regroup, and reposition myself as a teacher, student, and coach.

Since the pandemic began, have you felt more connected to the community you live in? Less connected? About the same? Talk about what, if anything, has changed.

I don't know if i have a community. I feel much more connected to my gays. And it's pride month.

Think about something really important that happened to you this week, and tell us about it.

This week, my 85-year-old mom had a fall and was hospitalized overnight (17 staples in her head).

She was taken to the nearest trauma center, which is an urban one. I was surprised to find that I was not allowed to visit her, despite the fact that we are both fully vaccinated and I also serve as her healthcare power of attorney.

Anyway, she was quite frail and needed someone with her when she went home. I lived with her for a few days until my sister could come up to care for her. Not an ideal situation, since my sister is NOT vaccinated and doesn't intend to be. But there are no alternatives, so we need to take our chances.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I've been in such a strange transitional state lately. I got my second dose of Pfizer in April, but I'm still wary. Every time I see someone without a mask I wonder if they're truthfully vaccinated or just taking advantage (and putting themselves and others at risk in the process). I feel like my mask is a baby blanket. I don't really need it, and I don't wear it at work or with family and friends I know are protected, but I like to keep it on in stores. It just seems polite. Then again, it makes me wonder if people then believe I am not vaccinated. Such a paradox. I don't know when my faith in people got so inverted. And I still have a knee-jerk negative reaction when I see pictures on my instagram feed or on television of large groups all maskless. Logically, I must assume they are protected, but it's hard to feel sure unless I'm told explicitly. Just seems like an awkward time around here. Especially when I listen to NPR every day and hear about all these countries where people are dying by the thousands, and won't have access to the vaccines for maybe years. I am at once guilty and grateful. Furious too, with conspiracy theorists who smugly reject what other people are so desperate for, and the astounding lack of compassion and leadership around us.

I am constantly reminded that the famous line, "may you live in interesting times," is a curse, not a blessing.

Think about something really important that happened to you this week, and tell us about it.

I got to see my nephew for the second time without a glass barrier. My brother and his wife live a bit farther away than they did when he was a newborn (and the vaccine wasn't available yet), so we don't get to see them as much, but that makes holding him all that more precious. He is almost 8 months now, and will be standing and walking in no time, I'm sure. I can hardly believe he is real, he is here. He looks just like us and yet completely unique. It's like meeting your family from another reality. An illusion all the more strengthened by his being born in the middle of this nightmare. So special and surreal. Heartbreaking and hopeful. Curious and celebratory. I wonder what kind of person he will become.

Talk about the last time something made you cry.

I cried reading a book called Braiding Sweetgrass. The chapter on Witch Hazel reminded me of my [I.] grandmother and us going out in the fields looking for wild food, like blackberries, asparagus and sassafras.

As a child I was happiest on the [W.] farm and it’s values seeped into my consciousness, even though I live in a city, where I grow veggies and flowers in a community garden and have potted herbs on my deck. It was sadness for a past that is no more in so many ways. And for the people in my life who are gone that I want to tell how much they made me the woman I am today.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I am seeing an increase in the number of masks polluting my surroundings. New York State has banned plastic bags so now the throw away mask has taken over as the number one annoying trash in lawns, on trees and in the street. I can't stand it!!! Birds and small animals can choke on the cords.

It is unsanitary and ugly. I keep being reminded that the corona virus is still with us and the masks are ubiquitous proof of it.

Think about something really important that happened to you this week, and tell us about it.

I marked ten years working for the same employer in a job I truly enjoy 90% of the time. The other 10% is not that bad, but no place is perfect.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

I woke up with a sore throat this morning. Now I will have to see what happens. The air quality was fairly poor last night with smoke in the air. But my husband works in a school where there is always a risk of exposure to Covid. So I will see how I feel later today before deciding whether or not to get tested. I was hoping to to go for a socially distanced walk with a friend I haven't seen for a while, but I will probably have to cancel that. Which is very disappointing as I have been very lonely.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

This is a pop-up Covid testing place in Berlin, complete with charming tent and potted plant.

June 9. Masks worn outdoors seem to be a thing of the past here. Walking to buy vegetables yesterday, I was the only person I saw masked. Even in the outdoor Turkish market, where they are still formally required, i saw more mouths than I did a month ago. (It’s interesting that the mouths of strangers have become a source of alarm.)

I invited a senior colleague I like very much who is quarantining in Berlin to socially distant tea in a park. (She hasn’t replied, and I worry I was too forward.)

Her quarantine is required because she flew in from the UK. The Delta variant is proving to be a serious contender there, despite their high vaccination rates. So Germany and France have put in travel bans. She herself is a German citizen, here to see her sibling’s newborn, so she was allowed in. She said it was heartbreaking seeing people turned away at the gate.

The decision to shove Brexit through during the pandemic—« hard to understand » is the most restrained thing I can say about it.

Germany trying to keep the Delta variant from getting up a head of steam here is understandable, though. They have half the vaccinated pop that the UK has, even if they are using Pfizer more than the less effective AstraZeneca.

Berlin Cafes have opened outdoor seating, and no longer require you to present a negative COVID test to sit down. There are still pop -up Covid testing places everywhere—if you aren’t vaccinated, which is still most people, a negative test lets you dine indoors, or go to the gym, or even (!) go to the opera. Out walking I’ve seen a pop-up testing center in a lovely tent, out of the back of a car, at a stand that looked like a water ice stand in the park, and in several storefronts. Rapid tests have been available from Gorillas,, the grocery delivery company, for some time. I think it’s terrific. A few months ago it was impossible to get a test without potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19 in the process– you could only get them done at a doctor’s office or in testing centers with very long lines. So you didn’t get tested unless for some reason you absolutely had to. I have a PCR test I ordered from Amazon when they were briefly available for something like 80 euro before they sold out, which I hung on to anxiously all winter in case I had to fly back. It was priceless then. Now, I hope, it’s nearly valueless, and can gather dust in the bathtub with the rest of my emergency stores.


Since the pandemic began, have you felt more connected to the community you live in? Less connected? About the same? Talk about what, if anything, has changed.

I am SO much more connected to my community because I haven't left this 10-block radius hardly at all over the last year and a half. I'm lucky because everything I need is within walking distance. I used to go all over the city for work, socializing, school, etc. but now I just stay in my neighborhood and I feel so much more attached to it. Especially Central Park where I go almost everyday. I feel like I know that park so well now! I used to find the city exhausting, but ever since the pandemic, I have felt nothing but love for this city and I really don't get so irritated by it anymore. What I used to hate was the crowds, the hustle-bustle, the mass transit, but since the pandemic there is none of that and I really feel like it is more of a community. I hope this continues going forward, although I doubt it.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

My father got retrenched and my mother is working piece jobs

Financially we are struggling and it puts a lot of stress on my mom

On the hand , school gives me a lot of pressure

The is a lot of work and I'm struggling to catch up

The pressure is too much but I'm trying

I sometimes feel like i can't make it. With my mom stressed and a lot of work from school things are just messy

Corona virus has turned my life from bad to worse

Because it has increased all my problems

The sad part is i can't do anything about it

I also fear for my life because the have been corona cases in my school but our school keeps on insisting that we attend school

... B.M.

Grade : 12

Age : 17

Country : South Africa


Let's talk about COVID-19 vaccination. Have you and/or others close to you been vaccinated -- or had difficulty getting vaccinated? If so, talk about that experience.

My family and I have been fully vaccinated since April. Well, my immediate family. My family in Scandinavia don't have any clue when they'll be able to get vaccinated, I'm not sure what the status of vaccinations are there, but they're not anti-vaccers. My family in the Southern part of the US is not vaccinated. I think maybe one cousin and one uncle, maybe. But that's it. And the two of them are only vaccinated because they're nurses and had to. I think it's partially that they don't really support vaccinations and partially they don't think they're necessary. It's scary because I'll be seeing them later this month, and while I'll be fine...I dunno it just makes me nervous.

Here in CT, it was easy breezy to get vaccinated. I went to a drive-through site twice, which was staffed by the state national guard (idk the proper terminology). It took a while, but it was convenient. I was able to join in over the phone on a work call. And the shot itself was totally fine. I read things like Kate Middleton just got her first dose a few days ago and it's bonkers to me. Like, I've been fully vaccinated for over a month! It's funny because I feel like America is always eons behind other countries, but somehow we're leading the world right now in vaccinations.

What do you think was the biggest news event this past week -- either in your community, nationally, or globally? Tell us about it, and why it’s a big deal.

The lifting of mask requirements indoors for the vaccinated. Nobody's happy with it. Those who are pro-safety-measures know that nonvacc'd folks will lie, so they feel unsafe. Anti-vaxxers are mad that they aren't included/that being unmasked will make people think they are a filthy vaccinated sheep.

Do you feel a sense of solidarity with any particular group at this point in the pandemic? If so, which group(s) and why?

I think my relationships with other disabled people have intensified during the pandemic because they understand more about how complicated it is for me to have gained access to so many more things than before. in some ways I've had my life improved by this horrible disease.

Think about something really important that happened to you this week, and tell us about it.

I got a haircut this week -- my first in two years. I hadn't expected to feel anything in particular about it, and it seems trivial. But allowing myself this luxury and being taken care of for an hour made me feel amazing. I entered an almost meditative state with the knowledge that someone else was in charge of me for that time. I felt like a new person leaving the salon. My hair also looks good for the first time in years and I feel really confident. It gives me confidence that I'm attractive and desirable, something I haven't felt very tapped into during COVID.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

The beginning of the pandemic was the biggest restriction I personally have ever had in my life. I couldn't see my friends, my family, anything. I had spent my 18th birthday at home alone, I couldn't even see my significant other at the time. Even though I did spend a lot of time outside and enjoying the little things in life, my senior year was ripped away from me quicker than I had every imagined. It was my final year in high school and my favorite one at that. I could barely even go to the grocery store with my parents to get the essential things needed to just survive.

How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting your life right now? Tell us about your experiences, feelings, and thoughts.

Now that the world is opening up, I am revisiting projects I was planning in February of 2020. These include cleaning out our garage and giving unneeded items to charity. As a follow-up to that, having a ramp built in the garage so that my disabled spouse has easier access to the house. The cleaning out the garage project was completed last week. Now - today- the ramp is being built for my husband's benefit and use. I am over the moon that the garage is now in an organized uncluttered state and that the walker/wheelchair ramp will be a reality by tomorrow. These projects have been hanging over my head for over a year.

¿De que manera el coronavirus le está afectando su vida en este momento? Cuéntenos sus experiencias, sensaciones/emociones, y pensamientos.

Esta semana estuve trabajando mucho para entregar un material que debía estar en una fecha límite. Pero esto se me cruzó con el cumpleaños de mi hermano. Así que tuvimos que salir con mi mamá a buscar el regalo.

Mi hermano invitó a una fiesta de cumpleaños en la casa de su pareja e iban a llegar algunos de sus amigos. Yo tomé la decisión de no asistir porque me he esforzado mucho en mantenerme en confinamiento como para arriesgarme a participar en una fiesta donde la mayoría de personas salen a trabajar diariamente. Me quedé sola en casa y aproveché a trabajar duro para compensar el tiempo que tuve que salir. Por suerte, mi familia comprendió mi decisión y no hubo reclamos.

Mis piernas no están bien. La aspirinita que comencé a tomar me ha servido mucho, ya no me agito tanto al caminar y agacharme. Pero tengo que ir al médico a ver mis piernas porque están muy mal. También debo arreglar mis asuntos económicos, porque, como de costumbre, hay trabajo, pero no hay paga. Es el precio de la libertad. Este mes será mi cumpleaños. ¿Cómo he logrado llegar? Como un milagro.

Additional Material

I dunno what I'd do without this girl right here. She's my best friend.

Tell us about anyone you're especially worried about during the pandemic, and what you’re worried about.

I feel worried about my grandmother, who is 101-years-old and who recently transitioned from assisted living into memory care. As of last week, I am now her power of attorney, which only formalizes the work and responsibilities I have been carrying since my mother died (over two years ago now, which boggles my mind). I've lost sight of whether I do a lot of work for my grandmother because I love her, or whether I love her because I do a lot of work for her. I think both may be true. Anyway, my dear, sweet grandmother has declined steadily over the past two years. It is impossible to tease apart whether this is due to losing my mother, due to the stresses and isolation of the pandemic, or due to very old age (i.e., whether this decline was coded in her genes and destined to happen regardless of losing my mother or the pandemic). I want to be there as much as I possibly can for her, and I want her to receive the best care possible (while fully acknowledging that I am not the right person to provide her day-to-day care). I also want her to have a good quality of life. And, at the same time, I hope she lives forever. If I could turn back the clock and give her her health and independence back, I would. In some ways, the pandemic has been a blanket that has covered absolutely everyone -- there is no escaping it. But, in other ways -- especially through my grandmother -- it is clear to me how vulnerable populations have been made even more vulnerable by the pandemic.

Many of us are living with restrictions on movement and social contact. Talk about any restrictions that have affected you and your ability to go about your life.

During the first few months, the social restrictions and health concerns kept us close to home. I worked remotely as a secretary, emailing, zooming and taking/making calls from home. My husband is a pharmacist and he was needed, working 60+ hours a week. Our daughter was an essential worker in a grocery store. Our lives were spent at work or at home, without any socialization with friends.

The positive outcomes included reconnection of family time. Dinners took longer, as we discussed the days events. We completed family puzzles and there were giggles in the kitchen while haircuts were given.

Mental health challenges were present, but fortunately, we already had counseling in place prior to the pandemic. Our sessions changed from in-person to zoom, which was a little impersonal at first.

Going back to school in the fall was a challenge for myself and our college aged daughter. However, I believe adaptation was much easier and quicker than we expected. Masking up seems like a natural habit now.

Some people are feeling intense feelings right now. Is anything making you especially sad right now, or especially angry? If so, what's on your mind?

We're planning for my son's 3rd birthday party right now, and we still have a lot of unvaccinated family. A lot of people are having parties and going to weddings and flying on planes, but with my unvaccinated child, we're still trying to be careful. I'm so angry when I see people blatantly disregarding the guidelines that have been suggested to keep each other safe, and I'm constantly weighed down by feelings of people being selfish. I'm sad for my toddler who has missed out on so much. He doesn't remember going to the aquarium or going to church or doing all the things I used to do with him. Previously we spent less time home than we did out, and now the exact opposite is true. We don't go anywhere or do anything, and now that the mask mandate in NJ has been lifted, I don't foresee us going anywhere in the near future. I'm so stressed out about everything, and many people are looking to move on despite the fact that the pandemic is still very real.

When I applied for life insurance last year, they asked if I had ever tested positive for covid-19, so I can't even imagine what kinds of discriminatory practices or long-term health issues will transpire in the future for those who have had the virus. I'm trying to do all that I can to keep my son safe, and it's exhausting.