"...What I miss the most in this whole thing is people's faces. For the past 9 months when we talk to another person we can only see their eyes...When we're on the other side of this, I hope we will take the opportunity to get the full picture of each others' lives. To smile, to laugh, to encourage people with our faces...that's what I can't wait for."
"...It’s been difficult to wrangle the massive waves of grief and anger that roll through me. I feel so frustrated by so many things right now...I’m learning that my best and most effective middle finger is to do what the people I’m angry at are too selfish and cowardly to do: Take action. Be available. Nourish. Help where I’m able..."
"...I work with the underserved communities of the Twin Cities, those communities who have the most social determinants of health, the worst Covid-related health outcomes related to race, socio-economic status, and health history. Many, if not the majority, in my patient panel are undocumented immigrants and uninsurable..."
"...It makes me furious that despite almost 300,000 deaths, conspiracy continues to intoxicate the defiant and prodigiously ignorant, fortifying the feedback loop of lies and denial...I am however, still hopeful..."
"...And then, COVID arrived. People were so sad and anxious. People were losing loved ones and local businesses were struggling to remain open. So I decided to hang pom poms at local businesses and leave a note letting them know the community cared about them...The notes were all signed 'Your Friend in Fiber'..."
"...I carry the health insurance for my family and I know many others in the same situation. I’m trying to stay positive in thinking that people around me are making the right choices...the majority of us do not have sick time or PTO to fall back on...The importance seems to fall on completing our work rather than our health and safety..."
"...this surge in positive COVID cases has taken a toll on us "Essential Workers." Normally, at this time of day, the bays are 3/4 empty...it's way too full. We could be facing layoffs. Should layoffs actually happen, who assists the Essential Workers? Scary, scary times..."
...We've become a Community over the past 8 months and I credit all of you with seeing me, and us, through the Pandemic. Through the Pandemic Spring. Through the murder of George Floyd. Through the Pandemic Summer and Fall that brought Distance Learning, and now as we make our way through The Pandemic Surge and Winter...
"...This could have looked so different. Selfishness, ignorance, and outrageous leadership has led us straight into the wildfire of this virus...The fact that Minnesotans are going to gather around a Thanksgiving table when we are essentially out of resources to care for the Covid spike that will come from those dinners...I don't even know the right words for it.
"...I love working with college students. I know right now there are many people frustrated with their age demographic, but I wish people would stop and think a minute...please have some patience, some understanding, and a little bit of grace. Wear your masks, set good examples for your friends and neighbors, and most importantly, keep pressure on those making decisions..."
"I have remained Covid-free so far... and fortunately we've only had one case of Covid at our station on all 3 shifts this whole time. Not all stations have not been so lucky. There have been some whole crews shut down due to all members coming down with coronavirus...But I am confident that with discipline...we can over come this worldwide medical crisis. We have to."
"...As we move into COVID winter I’m feeling exhausted, anxious, and at times, hopeless...At the same time, I am doing my best to find glimmers of hope in the isolation...The recent data on the vaccines is exciting. I’m hopeful that our new administration will provide the leadership, support and changes we need, but there is SO MUCH work to do..."
"Thank you for asking how I am. Let me think about it... As you know, it's been a rough week...we are so low on staff... I need to check myself before I say or do something, because I'm a little bitter right now with the current health care climate...We are not being treated like valued humans who are risking their lives. We are being treated like dogs they want to train to fight."
"...In the last 8 months, I have been a part of making decisions that I never thought I would have to make. Policies about who gets to visit their dying loved one, which team members will take care of COVID patients, how to allocate scarce resources like PPE and vents...I am a fixer, a problem solver. And I can't fix a lot of this..."
"...I am exhausted and lonely...I don’t understand how caring for our neighbors became less important than our freedom to not wear a mask. This is not freedom. Nevertheless. We committed to serving our community. And we’ll be here for you when you need us..."
* Photo courtesy of Anna Dykhuis, RN
Editor's Note: Please be there for them. Stay home and mask up when you are out, especially with friends and family not in your household.
"...COVID19 is real. If you have not been impacted yet, you likely will be in the future. Health care workers have been sacrificing, and showing to help others, since the beginning of the pandemic. Those of us that are still healthy will keep showing up for as long as it takes..."
"...I feel like my sense of self has become very strong due to The Pandemic...My relationships with people have become stronger, and any loose ends have been tied up. My home has become a sanctuary and I feel so full of gratitude for the life I've created as well as for the simple basics in life like good health, clean water, fresh air, etc..."
"...My days are getting SUPER long with Thanksgiving right around the corner. People aren't near as grateful or as polite as they were at the beginning of the pandemic. I actually put in my notice at work this last week. I hit beyond burnout and I need a breather...I hope people are smart enough this holiday season to stay the fuck home. But people are selfish and I'm not optimistic."
". . .In addition to my role as Lt. Governor, I’m a mom, a
wife, and a daughter of a parent with underlying conditions and I am
navigating all of this as a human being, too. I think we sometimes
forget to remember that we are all human beings doing the best we can
and that no matter what, we can all start each day and each interaction
with empathy and understanding...We’re in this together,
". . .These last 8-months have been brutal. I am burnt-out. I live everyday with constant anxiety...Add to this, working through two hospital closures. My friends and colleagues are going to lose their jobs. During a pandemic...I'm so very tired. Tired of people being so selfish. So stupid. Tired of seeing people suffer. I need a break. We all do..."
with a chronic illness, the pandemic has further highlighted the
challenges of living with an often invisible illness...In the United States we seem to still be stuck on the
debate of if it is serious or not. I don't have the luxury of choosing
to not take it seriously..."
"...PLEASE take this seriously.
The average person may not think they have a big role to play, or they
may think that this is overblown and their actions don't affect others
directly. I assure you, all of our actions matter...Hunker down, realize that
life is not the same right now, and make some serious adjustments...Please! This nurse is begging you!"
"...These pandemics have opened the eyes of many to understand that
radical systemic change needs to happen for us to reach equity. If
someone gets COVID-19, it not only impacts their physical health. It
takes a toll on their (and family's) mental health, lingering health
issues, their job, housing situation, etc. These aren't new problems..."
"...This fire is out of control. I can't think of a time in 15 years of working in ERs where hospitals are so overwhelmed. And I think this is just the beginning unless something changes...I have a simmering concern about ongoing surge of Covid in the community, without any apparent new efforts to curb spread. This is especially concerning as we have seen widespread lack of hospital bed availability in the broader metro area of the Twin Cities..." *Photo courtesy of Dr. Frank Villaume, IV
"...This is my first year as an elementary
school principal so sometimes It's hard to distinguish what unique to
this year. What I find most challenging this year is the wide range of
what parents and teachers want...Some folks are really ready to get back into the building and
others are very scared and worried. The range of opinions and emotions
...I took it for granted,
mainly. That it was always there (I had been going infrequently since I
was an aspiring Gen Xer in the early 90s). And that it would remain...I'm
not sure when we will be back inside, brushing an accidental shoulder
with a stranger and smiling without masks concealing our hearts. So
until then, I'm gonna do my damnedest to smile big with my eyes...
"...I think one of the most important things this virus has given me is perspective. My father has a type of cancer that would not mix well with Corona, so my family has taken extra measures to stay inside and away from people. I have watched from afar as my friends and schoolmates hug, play with and hang out with each other, and it isn't the best feeling in the world..."
“...Salon life is starting to feel more and more normal. Which is a testament to how adaptable humans can become. Wearing masks and cleaning incessantly doesn’t feel like a big deal anymore. What does feel like a big deal though is how wonderful it is to see old and new clients smiling under their masks...”
"...Due to COVID-19, I haven't spent much time with my family or friends for months, because of cross contamination worries and health issues. It's a very lonely existence. I message or phone friends, I write with online poetry groups of virtual friends all over the world, I read, I watch movies...I know I'm one of the lucky ones, as I still live in my own home with my husband..."
* Photograph of Marianne and her daughter Katie around 1991
"...As a writer, I have been feeling full of emotion and have felt challenged to write. So many feelings and instead of spilling out, they are waterfalling inside of me with seemingly no end. And I am discovering that somehow I am still grateful to be alive and be apart of this movement work, this healing journey, this surrender into sweetness and abundance for Black life...I want to end the lie that something about Blackness is inferior or troubled..."
"...Justice Ginsburg's decisions are the first ones I ever read where I felt like I was the subject and not the object of the decision...for women lawyers especially, her legacy is one that we deserve to be in all places where decisions are being made, and that we could do that while parenting and working and bringing our whole selves to both..."
"...I spent almost ten years in the Army Reserve, including a couple trips to Iraq. That service has given me a pretty deep well to draw from in the COVID environment...as a combat vet, having Blackhawks flying over my house all night and being able to hear and smell what was happening on Lake Street brought back some feelings I never expected to feel in my own house..."
"I've been on quarantine for a week and a half since I was exposed during my first week of school. I still have to stay home from work another half a week but I am continuing to do all my lessons on Zoom, teaching a full day from my house with my students in my classroom in the school building."
"...There's a tension...I think many teachers are struggling with anxiety about getting back in the classroom and making sure that we can still do the job AND maintain the health and safety standards that we feel are necessary to keep people from getting sick. My job is prioritizing student learning and I know being with them physically maximizes the potential students have for learning..."
"...We know our local business community needs support more than ever right now so we're getting creative... what we're planning to do moving forward is thanks to so many community members who've made a renewed commitment to shopping local... As a POC who's benefited from an immense amount of privilege growing up, there's a lot more that I should be doing to combat injustices, racism, and systemic inequities in my own community..."
"...Human beings are pretty fucking incredible. I’m so lucky that I get to listen to people as part of my job. I witness bold truths, powerful stories, and beautiful experiences around love, solidarity, justice, and connection every day... storytelling is how we make meaning, see connections, access our lineage and ancestry... it's an integral part of the human experience... "