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Four years ago

posted on in: post, personal, COVID, Grandma, 9-11, prepper, 2020 Elections and 2024 Elections.
~692 words, about a 4 min read.

It was a somewhat typical day at work. The office was buzzing with covering New York and COVID. The weekend before, we saw friends at a local beer garden. We joked but not joked that this could be the last time we see each other for awhile. The COVID-19 virus was making it’s way down to DC.

A couple weeks before that lovely outing, we visited the in-laws. They lived near a Giant Foods store and we stopped there to pick up supplies. We bought lots can goods, non-perishable items, wipes, etc. I thought to myself it was a matter of time before it got to DC. We best prepare.

We received a work email from Fred Ryan, CEO and Publisher of the Washington Post, to go home. Take things for the next couple of weeks and we’ll reassess where we are. I took my work machine, and some personal belongings. Before then, I ran into a friend and told him that in somewhat excited tone, that we’re in deep shit and bet that we’ll be sent home in the next couple days. He had a surprised look on his face. He thought I was thrilled that this was happening, based on my voice. But I recognized my feelings though; it was the same thing I felt when I was a teenager on 9-11: dread and panic.

A few weeks into the pandemic, I like many people, search very hard for toilet paper, flour, alcohol solution. I bought a box of motel thin toilet paper for $80. I secured 50 lbs of flour. I started baking sourdoughs in 2019 and had all the proper setup to bake several loaves a week. All the canned goods and dried beans, lentils, mushrooms, etc accumulated in our basement pantry. We had plenty of over the counter medicines and including children Tylenol. Sara made masks for everyone and including for our 3 year old daughter. Meanwhile HR, showed real leadership with constant communication, opening up health benefits, and generally not fucking up in any significant way. Hell, we all got a bonus at end of the year — at least there was that.

I deeply worried about my family in St. Louis. I attempted to warn them that the pandemic was moving fast and it was really important to get supplies for the next couple weeks. My sister’s husband ended up getting the Alpha strain in early December 2020. He survive just fine, thank goodness, and my sister and my niece were spared.

My mother’s mom passed away at age 82 that summer. She was not in good shape it all. She lived in El Paso, TX with my aunt and she will often confuse my aunt or other family members. She would sometimes go in and out different times of her life. She fell ill and was taken to the hospital, where they ( the hospital ) tested her for COVID and came back negative. A week later she passed away. I sometimes think, COVID testing was not so great that summer and I think she likely died of COVID.

I begged my mom not to travel to Michigan, where she’d be buried. My uncle, urged my mother to come. This is when Michigan locked down, where if you recall, was pretty strict. I remembered reading that some folks getting COVID at funerals, and dying from that. Mom stayed put, thank goodness. I convinced her by explicitly telling her and my dad, “I don’t want you to go because I think you might die. And I don’t want to bury you after you buried your mom.”

Four years was a downright shitty horrific bad year. Republicans are doing that are-you-better-now-than-four-years-ago shtick, as if 2020 never happened. That year was punctuated by Jan 6th insurrection and attempted violent coup by a rapist and sprouting fascist, Donald Trump.

We had a real setback four years ago, as a nation and as a people, but our comeback is something to admire and share to anyone willing to listen. I know personally, I am doing pretty well. Thriving and prospering. I remember four years ago, and it was bad.

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