‘I’ve seen too many of my peers crying in the aisles lately. Sometimes I ugly cry outside. But never inside. I know I’m not alone.’: Grocery store worker fears taking Covid-19 home to family, ‘What if I today is the day?’

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“Every single time I turn into the driveway — ‘What if I today is the day, I bring the virus home? What if I, unknowingly, invite danger through our front door?’ How could I possibly live with myself if that happened? Sometimes I ugly cry outside. But never inside.

I know I’m not alone. I imagine a lot of essential workers struggle to take deep breaths as they strip down, not allowing their children to touch them until they are clean, just as I do. I’ve seen too many of my peers crying in the aisles lately.

I work for my town’s local grocery store and my husband is with the Washington National Guard. We have three children confined at home.

Courtesy Carly Marie Brettmann

Daily, I see fear on the faces down every aisle. I see huge, barren holes on shelves from panic. I learn of delivery truck issues and wonder how that affects our community. I hear of heartache and overwhelming anxiety from my peers. I feel enormous guilt my Mac is not set up in a check stand. I answer emails and respond to comments from isolated, elderly people looking for ways to safely get their meds and food. I try to help advise on and think through new safety measures for all and communicate them the best way I can, but things change rapidly. It never seems like enough.

Courtesy Carly Marie Brettmann

So when I finally do walk through our door, I try my best to leave the day behind me. I focus on playing Uno with the boys, maybe letting them win every time just to hear their jeers. I rock my daughter to sleep in the kitchen to Otis Redding and Bill Withers instead of trying to finish the dishes. When the kids do finally go down, I hug my husband tightly as he tells me his struggles balancing work and home life and how that can change at any given moment with the National Guard. Then I prepare the homeschool lessons for the next morning, knowing full well I am not even remotely qualified.

This sh*t is exhausting on just about every level. Focusing on the good takes some readjusting sometimes but it helps. The good is there. It’s just buried at times.”

Courtesy Carly Marie Brettmann

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Carly Marie Brettmann, 33, 0f Olympia Washington. Follow her journey on her website hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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