‘I can’t wait for everything to get back to normal so I can pretend this never happened.’ I felt a pang in my chest.’: Woman urges ‘don’t give up on the safety of those around you’

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“Today I went to my local grocery store to stock up on some food. It’s only my fifth time out of the house since this whole thing started. While waiting in line (six feet apart, of course) I overheard a conversation going on between two teenagers in front of me. The exchange went a little something like this:

‘Ugh, I just can’t wait for this stupid pandemic to be over. You think it will be over in June?’

‘Totally. There is no way it will last any longer than that. Besides, these nails need to get done!”

“Yeah, I can’t wait for everything to just get back to normal again.”

“When it does, I’m going to pretend none of this ever happened. Hello 2021!”

They proceeded to talk about planning a ‘social distance’ birthday party. By social distance, they meant they were just going to cap it off at 25 guests. There was no talk of masks or staying six feet apart. In fact, they stressed that it is probably okay because the pandemic would be ending soon anyway.

I felt a pang in my chest. I’d heard about people like this on the news and social media and it angered me so. I wanted to scream at them, tell them they were being insensitive. But now, I was 6 feet away from them, and I couldn’t even bring myself to speak.

For all the people out there who think the world will simply go back to normal after this, I say, you’re wrong.

I say there are millions who will be grieving the loss of their child, parent, sibling, friend, co-worker to COVID-19.

I say there are countless health care workers with irreversible trauma.

I say there are countless essential workers who have spent months living in fear.

I say there are countless people without a source of income for their families who have not yet received a stimulus check. Struggling.

That is not something you can pretend never happened.

I say there is a high likelihood of a second wave of COVID-19, and even a third. Just listen to all the scientists.

That is not something that will go away soon.

Please do not give up on securing the safety of yourself and those around you.

Please, if you’re reading, take this thing seriously for yourself and your loved ones.

And I will do so, too.

Because the lives of so many Americans, and people across the globe, will never be the same again.

But we can learn to find beauty, strength, healing, and togetherness as we navigate this new normal.”

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by McKenzie Saffitz. 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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