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.
¿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.

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

At this time, it is June, 2021 and we are at the tail end of this pandemic. For the first time in 18 months, we participated in an outdoor family gathering. As a school employee, this has been a stressful year. Contact tracing has been a weekly and sometimes daily task. Listening to our staff stress about student learning losses and the frustration of students who are remote, but are not participating.

On the upside, I see the end in sight! There are positives that have come out of this situation. We will continue on with new and better procedures for shopping, dining out and educational content delivery. I believe the evolution of online meetings will continue to change how we efficiently use our time. Yes, I believe somethings are better hashed out in person, but video meetings are here to stay.

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

This past week has been rough. I still have an unvaccinated toddler, and it impacts everything we do (or in this case, don't do). I see pictures of people having large gatherings, some with unvaccinated little ones, and it is so stressful. We do what we can to keep everyone safe, especially our 2-year old. Despite everything that we do to keep our child safe, I can't wait to be like all the others and just have a maskless gathering. I haven't been with people maskless in over a year, and I can't wait for some normalcy.

June 3rd, 2021 in particular was horrible. Here's what I wrote on Facebook about the day: "Today was horrible. A. had a slight cough yesterday when napping at daycare, was fine all night, but had more of a cough this morning when he woke up. He said he feels "good" if you ask him.

"He's required to have a negative covid test to return to daycare with a cough, no fever mind you, but his pediatrician doesn't do them. R. got him an appointment at pediatric urgent care for a rapid antigen and PCR test, but then after they did it, they said the test results wouldn't come back in time for his graduation tomorrow. I tried calling them to see if they could expedite the test, but nobody answered because the call volume was too high. They said to email, which I did, with no response all day.

" My mom, R., and I spent hours calling places to see if someone could do a rapid covid test for A. so he could go to his graduation tomorrow, but nobody does rapid tests on kids under the age of 3, including Walgreens and CVS. The only pediatrician we found wouldn't take us because we weren't current patients.

"We called the daycare to see if we could buy a rapid covid test in the stores, but they said state guidelines don't allow that to be used for children to return to daycare. I was in tears that A. would miss his graduation when he doesn't have covid. Besides daycare, he goes basically nowhere and keeps his mask on at all times if he does have to go somewhere. We're all vaccinated. No way does he have covid.

"After BEGGING the receptionist on the phone after my 5th call to an urgent care, she talked to the doctor, who said he would do it, but since A. already had a covid test today, we would have to pay up to $150 for the test because insurance won't cover 2 in one day. A. finally got the test, which of course came back NEGATIVE.

" What really annoys me is all these mask mandates are lifted in the state, but there's no consideration for the unvaccinated children! My poor baby had to have his first covid test today up his nose, not once, but twice! Why should the little ones have to go through this while everyone else can parade around without masks? People who aren't vaccinated are supposed to wear them, but you know that's not going to happen in most cases. We don't even see family without masks to protect him, and then something like this happens.

"Something has to give in the state regulations. They say a child needs to be tested with a cough, but then you can't get a rapid test under the age of 3. What a joke. All that my child went through today when the only place he's been is daycare is so heartbreaking. Thank goodness he's fine and can go to graduation tomorrow, but what an awful day."

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’ve been less connected. This seems to bother others more than me. I always said that I could live alone in a lighthouse. I like cooking and finery with recipes to make them more healthy. I’ve developed bran muffins and banana chia muffins.

I spent my summers as a Bell Telephone operator and worked my way through grad school working switchblade for an answering service. I have to force myself to call anyone. I only use my cellphone and my ground line phone is an answering machine.

I text people and we set up a time to talk or see each other.

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

This sign outside a small convenience store in western Massachusetts loudly proclaims that “Masks (covering both mouth and nose) are Still Required in our Store.” This sentiment is unusual now though here in this state with its very high vaccination rate (55% fully vaccinated; 67% one dose). We arrived here in the Berkshires a few days for our first real vacation since Covid struck. It is beautiful and wonderful to be somewhere different! But I was so surprised on our first day here to go into the large local chain grocery store and see that many of the employees were not wearing masks. Oddly enough, most of the customers were. I’ve chosen to believe that these employees are fully vaccinated, and our following the advice of the science and medical professionals who keep telling us that fully vaxxed folks can skip the masks! In the past few days, we’ve gone into many smaller shops that cater to the tourists and there also, most of the staff aren’t masked and many of the customers aren’t either. At the restaurants, staff are masked, but diners aren’t. And outside, most people aren’t wearing masks, but some are, especially pre-teens. It is a real hodge-lodge of rules and behaviors. We went into the public library and there a sign was posted that said masks were still required in government buildings. As we walked through the neighborhood of our rental home, we passed many people - no masks at all.

Mostly, though, people seem happy and are glad to see others. The store owners are thrilled to have people coming into their stores again. “Help Wanted” signs compete with all the new signage about masks!

In just a few days of being in this new environment, I feel myself loosening up with regards to my own behavior. We’re all fully vaccinated and I’ve started to follow the lead of the store owners, if they aren’t wearing a mask, I often take my off, too. They’ll often request that we use hand sanitizer that they have put near the door. Of course, we comply.

I just hope that more people continue to take the shot, and that these changes are lasting! I feel that a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, now that we can visit with family and friends, hug each other, eat together, and just be together, again.

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

My grandchildren were quarantined for a second time this week. They were exposed by playing with the neighbor kids. Until kids can be vaccinated covid will keep circulating. Thankfully they tested negative today. I missed not being able to take care of them, but couldn't put my other grandchildren at risk whom I also care for. This happened on the anniversary of my mother's death from covid. So ironic and sad that it is still and issue.

I miss my mom and think of her often, but I am feeling more at peace since I attended an online grief event. I said that I felt so bad not being with my mom when she was dying. One of the other people in the group asked me if she talked about people who had passed away.

She actually did. About 4 days before she died she told me to come over so I could see her aunt and her mother. The other person said she wasn't alone. That gave me some peace.

Tell us about what you think the world will be like after the coronavirus pandemic is over.

After the pandemic....

I wonder if we'll gradually go back to what was, and 'forget' what happened. There's been some writing on the 1918 pandemic, and how it seemed to disappear form the collective memory, with very little written after it. No, of course, with social media and the internet, it seems likely much will linger.

However -two things occur to me... if you've ever gotten a speeding ticket, you'll be aware that for a few days or a few weeks afterwards, you drive carefully, within the limits. Then after awhile, you return to whatever your habits were before. Similarly, if you've ever had a life threatening event or a close friend or family member with one - and accident, medical illness, etc. For a time, you think, "I'll be so grateful and mindful and fully appreciative of this life, so I don't waste a moment!" And sure, for a while, you are.... but it's hard to live in that continuously, perpetually - eventually, you gain enough distance and become mired in the day to day of life:what's for dinner, did I pay the electric bill, etc.

It's hard to maintain/continue the immediate sensibilities of these events. So, I think some will remain, but probably much will not.

Do you feel that people in your community are supporting one another during the coronavirus pandemic? If so, tell us a little about this, and maybe give some examples.

Neither question is one I can answer well. I’ve not been harassed or threatened by anyone, nor anyone that I know of in my immediate circle of friends and family. I don’t know how supportive the people in my community are toward each other. I’ve put my answer as a response to the second question because I can at least say that when I take my daily walks most of the people in my neighborhood are wearing masks, keeping a safe distance as they pass each other, and acknowledging each other’s efforts to be safe like that with a nod, a wave, or a hello. I have to admit that I had very little contact with most of my neighbors before the virus and the pandemic restrictions have made that sense of separation from those physically closest to me even worse. I feel that I should do something about that. That I should do something more to communicate with those in my neighborhood. But I feel so out of practice to start.

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

Last Tuesday a close friend of mine got married at a small courthouse wedding. I think it's the first time I'm really feeling like I'm missing out on a "life moment."

My boyfriend and I are trying to plan what we'll do for a July 4th vacation. We'd like to travel somewhere – we're eyeing at Greece, since they're opening up. I'm less concerned about our own personal health risk since we're both vaccinated (or as less concerned as one can be), but it feels odd trying to plan travel when there are still so many unknowns. I want to feel excited, but it's hard to when I can't be certain of what will happen closer to the date. I want to feel excited, but I don't quite yet.

My parents got their first shot of the vaccine last week. My dad says that likely after July/August, he'll have to start going into the office every other week. I'm really concerned. I don't want him to go into the office – he works in Manhattan and I'm scared some racist and angry stranger will harass or physically harm him. I hate that I have to worry about my parents like this.

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

I am being harassed by a resident of my senior housing complex and have threatened to file an official complaint if he doesn’t stop. Every time he sees me, he says “why do you have that mask ion? Are you going to rob a bank?”

I told him if he says that one more time I will file a complaint with the office. He sits outside my apartment in a common area and I can’t go out my door without his taunting me about mask wearing,

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

My spouse has returned to working on site. His company laid off 300 employees early in the pandemic and hasn't replaced most of them, even though they are now fully open. As a result, my spouse works non-stop. From the moment he wakes, he is on the computer answering emails. Then he works a 10-hour day on site only to come home and get right back to work on his computer until after 1 am. His workplace is taking advantage of his workaholic tendencies, and he is letting them. They don't have room in the budget to hire support for him and, since he gets the job done alone, they don't have the motivation to find room. He's stressed. I'm lonely. We are also dealing with a sick pet who I'm home with 24/7 while my spouse is dealing with his work. So we are both stressed about that, too.

Life was simpler when the world was shut down and all we had to do was be together, do puzzles and figure out what to have for dinner.

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

I have been avoiding going to the dentist or the doctor, during this whole year, due to fears about getting infected with the virus. Now I have an immediate health issue, and will be phoning for an appointment Monday. I have been concerned that getting the vaccine before I get my health issue looked into, could be dangerous, so have not gotten vaccinated, and I also wonder / worry about the long term effects of this vaccine, so I am constantly doing an internal battle. Hopefully, it will all get worked out soon.

Has the pandemic changed the way you think or feel about "home"? If so, how? Consider uploading a photograph to help show what you mean.

I grew up in ... MI and then moved to Vermont when I married in 1968. After a divorce and retirement about 5 years ago, a voice in my head said “go home”. I now live a block from the house I was born in. I feel like a homing pigeon.

I wonder if I had a premonition as I feel like this is where I feel safest during a pandemic ..near family and home ground,

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

Covid restrictions for nursing homes in LA continue, and this means that, in the current facility that my mother-in-law is in, one hour per day per resident has to be scheduled, with capacity limits. Because of the latter, a family member might not be able to get in every day. This I think is going to really hasten my mother-in-law's confusion, panic, and loneliness. When is it ever a good time to say goodbye? Some would say never, in the circumstance of dementia. But in the time of Covid, it becomes an extra obstacle. I understand the rules and want to honor them. Of course, there's a risk even for vaccinated residents. Then, I hear about the hospital in Houston where there are workers suing because the hospital is mandating vaccination, and I get furious-- brings me right back to my experience at Kaiser, where my ophthalmologist is furious because her medical assistants are refusing to vaccinate. Scared of travel, but eager to do it. What am I scared of? I'm vaxxed. Maybe going quietly crazy from the stress of moving, and taking care of my husband's mom, and then, I don't know, being on a plane where one of the many "air rage" tantrums are happening?

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.

Much less connected. It makes me sad. People in my building moved in and out in this last year and I never got a chance to even see them. Maybe I saw them once.

Community meetings, book clubs, classes have all been by Zoom. Little squares are not going to do it for me.

Today, we went to a restaurant outdoors for lunch. I saw one of those little squares in person!!

It made a big difference!

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.

Everyone I know in the US has been fully vaccinated now. Praise God! It has been quite easy and available-- I think the government did a great job of this. I feel bad for friends in other countries who have struggled to get it and are still unvaccinated. A lot of people I know in Mexico are coming to the US to get the vaccine. Part of me is happy for them that they can do this, part of me is mad at the Mexican government for not providing for its people. Also, why should US taxpayers pay for the Mexican citizens to get the vaccine because the Mexican government didn't get its act together??? I really hate the Mexican president with a passion. He is such a total idiot. I am also a Mexican citizen so I can say this and I have a stake in what happens down there. I really hope he loses some power in the upcoming election because it is scary what is happening in Mexico and I am afraid that the country will continue to go down the tubes with this crazy maniac in power

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

I don't know anymore what is just life and what is Covid life. It is all one and the same. I'm still working from home which I love, and being much less social which I also love. My friendships are deeper and fewer, my focus is greater and my mood is better. I really love being at home and don't miss the hustle bustle AT ALL.

Additional Material

I am glad to hear that the US is sharing vaccines with countries that are struggling to get COVID under control, and hope that we can share more very soon. It is not okay that wealthy countries have the means to vaccinate their people, and poorer countries do not.

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.

I think the biggest, and to me, the saddest news event of the week are all the giveaways to convince people to get vaccines. Free burgers, drinks, scholarships, money. What about getting your life back? Is that not enough? What about the sacrifice of the health care workers and the clinical trial participants? Is that not enough? I am really beginning to think we suck as a species overall.

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.

I think the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre has been one of the bigger news stories. I think because we have a renewed awareness of racial discrimination due to the protests, the Derek Chauvin trial and the Jan 6th insurrection over the last year. It's become a very partisan issue with Republicans refusing to believe the country has any kind of race problem and the rest of the country trying to learn the history we weren't taught and coming more to grips with our country's racist history. This is one of the first times our country has really addressed what happened in Tulsa - having more visibility and more representation in government has helped to not have this anniversary go by without fully examining what happened. I don't know that the President would have given the speech he did without the George Floyd murder and trial, BLM protests, and the storming of the Capitol. People think that protests don't accomplish anything because it often looks like nothing changes - but what protests do is break the silence - it starts the conversations and makes things priorities on the national stage that might not have been.

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.

This year has been tough for students.It almost seems like there was no right answer for schooling. My kids were put through an unpredictable year that included multiple schedule and policy changes made by the School Board. They started school as Hybrid (attending in-person classes two times a week and online classes three times a week). Two weeks later, they changed to in-person classes every day. Two weeks after that, they went back to hybrid mode. They changed to in-person classes 4 days a week at the semester break, and one month later changed to in-person classes 5 days a week. One month later, the school district revoked the mask requirement, and they haven't discussed the pandemic since then. It has been an emotional roller coaster all year. I think the lack of stability had a huge impact on student performance. It's hard to learn when you're receiving information in many different ways. My daughter (14 years old) has dealt with a lot of stress due to not feeling safe at school. Overall, I don't think it will affect my children's academic performance very much because both my spouse and I are college-educated and support them academically. I know there are groups that will be affect much more.

Additionally, I feel that schools need to adapt their expectations. Trying to meet the same state standards right now is ridiculous. I feel like administrators have worried so much about falling behind that they haven't stopped to think about the amount of stress students feel. Why pile on homework and assignments when there's so much else happening in the world?