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.

I am continuing to mourn the death of my mother. It seems surreal because I was not able to be with her when she passed. So, I sometimes picture her waving to me from her window .We were only able to have 10 people at an outdoor graveside service. Not being surrounded by family and friends at this time has made it very difficult to move forward.

I am angry at the system that denied coronavirus and wonder if she would have been alive if more steps were taken to prevent the spread. Also I am angry that this was known ,but not acted on until much later.

I am angry at myself for not prioritizing being with others always because it has been very difficult to be separated from family and friends,

I am disappointed with a couple friends who followed conspiracy theories. I fear that those friendships may be forever damaged beyond repair.

I am angered at people refusing to take the vaccine. I fear that this will only prolong the virus.

Just last week my grandkids were quarantined because the inlaws had covid. They are non believers in the virus. Their stupidity shouldn't prevent me from seeing my grandchildren

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

The upside of the pandemic is that I met someone on March 14, 2020, shortly before the lockdown. And so for the past year+, I have had an unfolding new relationship. It has been a unique time to get to know someone, and to share these months of the pandemic in a new intimate relationship when so many people are feeling isolated, lonely, depressed. I feel for them, as this brings me great happiness. I have deep gratitude for this and it brings me happiness. Being in nature also gives me great happiness as well as finally being able to connect more with friends since now many of us have been fully vaccinated. The onset of spring is also bringing me happiness. A sense of rebirth, renewal, hope..

Has the pandemic affected your political views in any way? If so, how?

- this week's questions are hard to answer

... I'm not one to talk about politics ... i was raised to keep the peace -- to respect each other by not talking about it.

... as for the other question (about the impact of the pandemic on children): I'm 19 and don't have kids, although I'm thinking about being an educational studies major. ... for a child who's 4, the pandemic is a quarter of their life, vs. 1% of the life of a 100-year-old man

... definitely reading the news more, and I was 18 and voted for the first time!

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

This past Sunday morning was the 8th and final day of Passover. Traditional Jews attend synagogue on this morning, in part because they want to recite Yizkor, the brief prayer service said in memory and honor of the departed. I have good friends, a couple, who always attend synagogue on these days because it is important to them to say Yizkor. Since Covid shut down our synagogue over a year ago, they have organized a small minyan on their front lawn for a prayer service. One of my friend's lost his father a few months before Covid hit, and my mother had passed away a few months before that. Knowing that I was still in mourning for my mom when Covid descended, they have always asked my husband and me if we want to join them, become part of the minyan (a group of 10) for the Yizkor service on their lawn.

If it wasn't for Covid, lockdowns, and social distancing, this new and meaningful home grown prayer service would have never come into being. There we are: ten to twelve middle age adults on a front lawn in a suburban cul-de-sac at 8:30 on a quiet morning with the birds chirping and the dew wetting our sneakers. We are all masked and stand with our partners, or alone, in a large circle. My friend leads the prayer service and she calls on some of us to lead responsive prayers. Without the background noise of a crowded sanctuary, I think about the English words, and listen to the rhythm of the Hebrew. I think about my mom, but more about the losses we have all endured in this past year.

It isn't just the people who died due to Covid and its complications, but others who had to die alone because of covid restrictions that kept loved ones from their sides. The losses we felt when we couldn't grieve properly or mourn together.

Our synagogue is making plans for a gradual re-opening; it is already welcoming small numbers of people back for services. By the time Yom Kippur arrives in the fall, we may not need to assemble on a friend's lawn. But I will always remember that during this year of lockdown, we found a way to create a holy space, a communal space, that was both safe and comforting.

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

- I'm a second semester freshman at a small liberal arts college and was online last semester

... I met my roommate, my boyfriend, and one friend from class -- but that's really it

... I joke that I can't be contact traced because I don't know anybody else

... this is my normal

... I'm grateful for what I do have, and to be able to be in school

... I hope I can study abroad

... and I really hope that my college graduation is normal after missing high school graduation

When is the last time something really made you laugh? Tell us about it.

My kid. My kid is truly funny. She is such a lovely little weirdo and her comments, comic delivery and overall personality just make me laugh - that silent shaking laugh. I am also a goofy weirdo and have successfully passed on this gift to my kid:) Hopefully we can all still act normal when we are around other people - our little family pod is definitely a little nutty. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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

Have to admit it, I am really feeling nervous about stepping out into the world again, though I know it will be slowly and carefully. I don't think I am exactly the same, and that will have to be okay. This experience has left me feeling unmoored, shape-shifted. And what does that mean for how I go forth? I have no idea!

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

Easter Sunday. I spent a few hours with my brother and nephew and his wife. I'm the holiday nerd in the family. It's important to me to continue holiday traditions and make new ones too!! Then I reconnected with a dear friend and her son. First time since Covid hit last year. We hugged and cried. I'm looking forward to more of these reunions!!!

Additional Material

I'm really growing tired of all these talks, infographics, news stories, etc. about self care. You know the truth of the matter? Self care only goes so far when you're living in a global pandemic. When half a million Americans have died. When half the country thinks the virus is a "hoax" and that a vaccine will implant a microchip or 5G in them. Self care doesn't address our emotional fatigue. Self care can't touch the trauma our bodies are enduring and continuing to process. Self care can't undo the assault we continue to witness on the rights and freedoms of SO many marginalized groups. Self care is part of the equation, but it ain't the end all be all.

If you are caring for a child under the age of 18 and you think their education has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, talk about how you think it’s been affected.

Poor quality public education. Not ready for hybrid >1yr after this all started?!? sooo frustrating. My son has never met another new freshman this whole year.

Has the pandemic affected your religious or spiritual observance in any way? If so, tell us about it.

I was never much of a religious observer. Until I was out on my own I attended church services in the service of someone else rather than myself. I had a "religious" wedding to satisfy the desire of family members, not because I wanted one. I would have preferred something different, but not enough to fight for it.

But I started attending a Friends online meeting a couple of months ago. I attended some meetings many years ago, liked the peacefulness an the silence and was frankly starved for interaction, even if the interaction was sitting in a quiet place for an hour, online, with a bunch of strangers.

I have started to look forward to attending now. Some weeks it still feels like a chore, as if I am checking off a box for my day. I still find myself resenting the time I am spending, mentally listing out the other options I have for that hour of the morning.

But I make myself go and sit online silently and it is helping. It is helping in my thinking during the week. It is helping me to deal with all the feelings of anger, jealously and frustration this pandemic has provoked. The only preaching I am hearing is the thoughts in my head.

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?

I am especially angry that there are still so many white racist conservative bigots in elected positions and in positions of power. The history of racism in this country and its present day manifestations are abhorrent. I just can't believe that anyone can believe that any human is 'less than' based on color of their skin - or any reason really.

I don't understand why reparations have not already been made - long ago. Not that it will fix everything but at least it is a start.

It's kind of like anti-abortion people who are anti-healthcare and for the death penalty. They want to save all these unborn lives but then they don't want to take any responsibility for giving those lives equal chances to live. It just doesn't compute for me.

I've also been thinking about all the businesses that had to close in nyc. I hate that most likely the businesses that move in will be corporate, the greedy real estate people and big businesses. It's not right.

And I feel powerless to stop any of this nonsense.

Since the pandemic started, does time feel any different to you? Does it feel slower than usual, or faster than usual, or basically the same? If time feels different, give an example or two of what has changed.

Everything feels like it's in suspended animation. Like no time has passed and a lifetime has passed. I hate it.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

It was a beautiful day that turned into a beautiful evening. So, I took my camera for a walk. I didn't even need a jacket. There is a small clump of daffodils blooming near my front steps. I planted them years ago hoping they would spread. They never did. But in today's golden evening sun, this small bunch, soon to be eclipsed by the rhododendrons and magnolia, said "happiness." They come up every year, no matter how harsh the winter. Hello, April. It's nice to see you again.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

- I've been trying so hard just to stay afloat, that sometimes it feels like it's going to fall apart at any minute. ... I've been trying to practice mindfulness, appreciate the little things

... being able to live with my partner

... the tree blooming outside

... the days are longer, the sun is out

... making art

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

My son is such a magical wonderful being of light and goodness. He brings joy to all who interact with him. He has been a lifeline to the older folks in our family, and since we've been able to bubble up with them, has kept them on a schedule and brought some much needed silliness and cuteness into an otherwise very dark and lonely year.

Yes, having a 2 year old in a pandemic is scary, and often very very hard, but I feel so lucky. He has no questions about why life changed for him so suddenly. He has no fears about people around him suddenly masking up or wearing a mask himself. He gives zero shits that he has to stay home with me or grandma and grandpa rather than go to daycare or preschool. He prefers it.

All he wants is to eat apple slices and to learn the name of every single dinosaur. He reminds us all that life can really be very simple and very joyful.

I love him so much.

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

3/30/21

Talked to eviction defense housing lawyer about issues with our apartment building and it was exhausting but helpful

Very tired when I woke up, slight headache and tummy very slightly off. Randomly right after lunch my temp is 98.6, almost a full degree up.

Later I got a migraine and felt so sick and crappy.

3/31/21

Shaky and tired recovering from the migraine. All our Passover food sounds disgusting.

Our building maintenance guy who has always been super nice to us comes to replace our dishwasher, and behaves as if we've really offended him, which is shocking and distressing, we wonder if it's possible that because of the masks he misheard something? We write him a card and give him a cash tip and try to tell ourselves he is having a hard pandemic, but it's so weird and upsetting

4/1/21

Shopping trip day. She makes a mistake and doesn't get S his desired yogurt flavors. I know I really dwell on the yogurt flavors and it's such a reflection of our privilege, but also a small thing we're used to controlling and it just feels really difficult not being in control of it now.

We still give her a giant tip sharing some of our stimulus money with her.

Finding some lovely connection on Facebook with a group of people who are bedridden or mostly so. It surprises me that this community feels so perfect for me because I am often ambulatory, but it's delightful to find a group of disabled folks who are positive and looking to share solutions, and so many of the issues with how hard it is to lie down most of the time are hard to understand for people who can sit in normal chairs.

Thank G-d, I will have a caregiver come Mon, the day after S's first vaccine -- the caregiver agency was able to schedule that. It's interestingly high risk to invite even a fully vaccinated and masked person into our apartment for 5 hours, but if G-d forbid S who is my usual caregiver got sick after the shot we'd both be so screwed! I feel so much less anxious now and I'm so grateful we can afford it.

I manage to cook matza ball soup and dessert for Fri night dinner

Following the trial of the officers who murdered George Floyd very carefully and so disturbed by all the anti Asian violence

4/2/21

Unlike our usual Passover custom we order takeout to go with the soup and dessert. We just can't manage normal observance this year

So glad big companies are speaking out against vile voting restrictions laws like Georgia's

4/3/21

Awake a lot of the night crying about missing my aunt

S's bass player in his band proposes they plan a live show indoors in late May. YIKES. Really? We're going to have to have so many conversations about this. So far we haven't had to do very much risk triage because our answer to everything has been no, we have just been fully quarantined, but at some point we'll have to start exercising our judgment, I guess that's already started with my having the caregiver come this week. S is pining to play live again with his band. This is going to be really tricky.

After Zoom services chat this morning included O, who can't get a vaccine because he had a past serious bad reaction to a flu vaccine and was told to avoid them. It sounds like they have decided to socialize with vaccinated people in person anyway. So much difficult risk calculus.

4/4/21

S was supposed to get his first vaccine shot today but they refused at the clinic, turned him away because he has had anaphylactic reactions to a food allergen before and they aren't close enough to a hospital. Couldn't they have figured that out before, since they asked him an allergic reactions questionnaire when he made this appointment? Luckily they have an appointment for him tomorrow that is a location near a hospital, but he'll have to get up crazy early and drive 90 min to get there and it's too far in the car for me to go along, not to mention that I have a paid caregiver booked for tomorrow and it's too late to cancel.

Turned into a very discombobulated day. S was very disappointed.

We did the token amount of work to "turn over" the kitchen again after Pesach.

4/5/21

We got up really early and I felt really scared about S driving so far for his appointment. Was so nervous and even a little weepy, praying hard for his safety.

It went really smoothly, stung him a little. The nurse who was walking around the big parking lot checking everyone was going to let him leave after 15 min but I asked that he stay for 30. That was it, he drove home! G-d willing as of 2 hours later he barely has a sore arm.

Because of supply issues they gave him a second appointment 4 weeks out even though it's usually 3 weeks for Pfizer.

I've also been nervous all morning about caregiver supposed to come at 11. She showed up half an hour late because of parking. Having to wear a mask hurts my breathing more. Feels terribly awkward figuring out how to use her help. If she liked cats I could ask her to play with our kitty but she's not so excited.

It turned out okay though, we let her go early because S is doing fine thank G-d.

Later I became enraged by my own timidity that I didn't speak to her about the way her mask kept slipping off her nose so that she was pushing it back up. Why didn't I say anything? I guess because I was intimidated by needing her.

Anyway S's arm is just a little sore.

4/6/21

Still no big side effects for S, just hurts when he raises it, he doesn't even feel tired. I'm giddy with relief

What was the biggest news story this past week -- either in your community, nationally, or globally?

The trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd has been televised live.

It was horrible to watch Chauvin kill George Floyd. And the aftermath of rioting and protests severely damaged the city and businesses that helped sustain it.

I’m emerging to see what’s physically left and operating in my city. I live near Independence Hall and the Constitution center. I’ve been traumatized by seemingly endless helicopters overhead then and the presence of the Proud Boys, told to “stand by” by Donald Trump. My brothers believe cities are corrupt and the vote was stolen from Republicans. I’v had to conclude my brothers, devout Christians that they are, are racists. We are wary of each other, unable to agree on reality.

I used to walk through the canyons of center city, dine out after aqua aerobics with girlfriends, trying out restaurants for breakfast or lunch. I liked the mix of people in the streets, looked forward to it in Reading Terminal and the Italian Markets and engaged in easy banter with strangers.

Local news is full of murders and mayhem- armed robberies and car jacking just blocks away (5th and South). For 3 weeks I’ve been venturing forth to restaurants within a mile or so.@ 1x week. I no longer have a car. I wonder if I’ll regain the ability to be breezy again with those unfamiliar and different from me or remain feeling vulnerable.

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

- I got vaccinated yesterday!

... My boyfriend was allowed to come with me for moral support

... maybe we'll get to do some road trips this summer and we won't have to worry about hurting other people by carrying COVID without knowing it

... maybe next semester it'll be back to normal

... other than COVID causing stress I'm trying to decide what I want to major in!

... I'm excited to see where my life takes me

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

I am stitching a tag every week for an Instagram challenge that started January 1. It's 52 tags, each week has a theme. Working on these brings me joy. I especially love the color palette of this one.

I also am doing an almost daily cut and paste collage series, another Instagram challenge, the 100 Day Project. Making things that don't involve a computer brings me joy, as does the spring sun and temperatures

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

I have not written in several weeks. We still have positive patients in the hospital, although that number has decreased significantly. I hope it is because people are getting vaccinated and/or heeding the CDC guidelines. I also hope that people realize that even though they have been vaccinated, masks and physical distancing are still required. I have traveled to visit my mom and sisters recently. They have been vaccinated, so it was nice to not wear a mask and to be able to really hug them. On the way there, my husband and I stopped at a Dairy Queen and decided to have a treat. There was only one other person there, so I wasn't concerned until I realized that NONE of the employees were wearing masks! I could not get out of there fast enough and will not stop there again. So, there are still idiots out there who have no concern for others. I still don't see us being out of this pandemic any time soon. Vaccine rates are nowhere near what they need to be for us to reach herd immunity. So, wear your masks, wash your hands, and stand at least 6 feet apart!

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

Hey, no Covid in the house! My daughter worked two shifts with a coworker who tested positive, just before she came back home due to new gov restrictions for indoor dining. Our daughter is negative and we all feel fine, so that’s a positive thing.

Busy at home, yard work and reading. No shopping except for essentials and no travel either, about 1000 Covid positive tests per day right now so staying home is the best thing for everyone. No vaccination for a while yet either, it’s definitely much slower up here than it is in the US.

Sigh.

Talk about what brings you happiness these days.

The other night, my 4 1/2 year old asked me what I like to do. It bugs him that I don't like TV all that much, definitely not as much as he does, and something about my answer to his question about it prompted him to ask me, "What else do you like?" over and over. And those answers make a good list of things that bring me happiness these days. Here's some of what tends to bring me happiness lately:

My gym being open and how strong I feel when I complete a workout, especially with my favorite coach.

Answering my kids' sweet questions.

Reading a good picture book to my kids.

Sunshine.

Tulips in my yard.

65-degree weather.

Naps.

Cottage cheese, which, it turns out is pretty yummy and gives me the protein I need after hard workouts.

Bike rides.

Reading a good novel.

Having rediscovered "This American Life."

Feeling hopeful that Derek Chauvin will be convicted of murder.

Holding my kids' hands.

Cozy slippers.

Longer days.

Texts from my best friend.

Has the pandemic affected your religious or spiritual observance in any way? If so, tell us about it.

I went to church on Easter Sunday for the first time in over a year. It was pretty strange. The attendance was less than half of what it would normally be on Easter. There was no Easter breakfast served. Communion was a little plastic cup of grape juice with a dry wafer sealed in the top. It was fairly unsatisfying. A quartet sang in place of the choir and there was no “passing the peace.” Offering was just placed in a plate in the back of the sanctuary. All together, it was less than spiritual but it was good to see people we care about (though many were missing). I don’t know how long it will be before we start going regularly again.

Talk about your current living situation. Has anything changed during the pandemic (for example, where you're living, who you're living with, etc.).

The building I live in, it's a retirement home based on the income of the tenants living here. It's for those over sixty and those on disability be it physical or mental. The building isn't that old but inside, it looks somewhat dated.

I WISH all the people living here, would wear their masks. There's a huge sign just inside the Lobby that says people MUST wear a mask.

The Landlord/lady only make the absolutely necessary repairs. So...if you get a leak, short of flooding from the weather, you're basically on your own.

I have to wear a mask whenever I walk outside the front door of our "unit" and not everyone does. That really frustrates me!!

I'm just tired of everything and at least emotionally, I have someone to talk to, via phone consultation.

The weather is finally beginning to improve and right now it's raining My body can feel it but.... temperature are going into the double digit soon and I'll be glad when it actually happens.