It’s been a year since our lives changed due to the pandemic, and while Grandpa and I wait patiently for our second dose of the Moderna vaccine, I ponder what we will do once we get the all clear.

I realize that even after the vaccines, we will still use the utmost caution around others. But the idea of even a bit of freedom is exhilarating. With hopeful signs ahead, I am optimistic we can look forward to some sort of normalcy soon. The CDC has announced that if you are fully vaccinated, you can visit with family members or friends, again with common sense and vigilance, but at least there is a path to resuming the best parts of our lives, the people we love!

There has been a lot of politicizing about masks and everything other pandemic-related action, but it is not so very different from the reaction in 1918. The Spanish Flu had a second wave that resulted in far more fatalities than the first. Historians believe that the severity of the second wave was caused by a mutated virus spread by wartime troop movements.

When it first appeared in early March 1918, it had all the same symptoms as a seasonal flu, except it was much more contagious. It lasted between one and two years and occurred in three waves, but not simultaneously around the world. While most wore masks and kept to themselves as much as possible, many were defiant and refused. They called the masks muzzles, germ shields and dirt traps, while claiming the government was trying to stifle their rights. Then, as now, medical authorities urged the wearing of masks to help slow the spread of the disease. Some things don’t change.

If wearing a mask to help stop the spread has been proven, I can’t imagine that having anything to do with my freedom, but that is my choice. I hope we can learn from the past.

My head is filled with so many things from the last 12 months.

In a trivia game down the road, we may be asked key words from 2020 and 2021. Along with those masks are toilet paper, no hugs, blessed Zooms, food and grocery deliveries, virtual school, and hand sanitizer. We adapt, but this test was brutal, especially on us grandparents. It has been a year of high tension and surging depression. We are all COVID-19 fatigued and ready to resume our normal lives. Be patient. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Over the last few days I have reconsidered my bucket list. Some of the simple things top the list for when it is safe. I will try very hard to no longer take certain things for granted. Seeing loved ones is probably on the top of everyone’s list. I am in dire need of seeing my family and friends without fumbling a mute button or having a piece of glass between us. Simple pleasures like sharing a meal, going shopping with a grandchild, sitting in a movie theater and not binge-watching Netflix are just a few.

Some call it cabin fever. I tried very hard in the last 12 months to make the best of a challenging situation. I cooked more dinners this year than in the previous 10, and thank goodness Grandpa is not a picky eater and goes with the flow. A soup-and-sandwich meal or a big salad was as well received as a full, home-cooked pasta delight. My laundry has been nice and clean, and both of us are enjoying the videos we make.

Another positive is that we have finally gotten around to a lot of projects that were on the back burner, and with the money we saved on dining out and our yearly vacation, we were able to finish a few things around our house. These are gifts that I am, again, grateful for, but like everyone else, I am ready to cautiously dip my toe into the pool and swim on.

With that caution and respect for those who have not been fully vaccinated yet, I will still mask up and throw political caution to the wind. I will try my best to respect those that disagree with my decisions and work towards a commonality that will put this and all that went with COVID-19 behind me. However, I will not buy that trivia game.

Stay safe and well.

Marla Luckhardt is a Brentwood resident who works with several local senior care and advocacy groups. Reach her at marla2054@aol.com.

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