COVID-19 has really done a number on all of us, with the confirmed deaths in the United States alone being 10,377 and counting. Every day, Governor Andrew Cuomo gives us a new briefing on the news in New York: the number of people that tested positive – 130,689, ICU patients – 4,504, number of deaths – 4,758.
Supermarkets have been a complete war zone: people are shopping in masks and gloves, announcements are heard through PA systems telling everyone to stand six feet apart. Nobody is even looking at anyone in the eye. They grab what they need as quickly as possible to flee from the ticking time bomb.
It seems like it has been a blessing to even be able to open your eyes in the morning. Being quarantined has pushed families to value the important things in this life; to cherish the little things such as being able to spend time with your grandparents, being able to celebrate time with friends, playing sports, living every day like it will be your last with no regrets because the reality is it just might be.
This pandemic has also brought us to have faith and gain a closer connection to God or whatever higher source you may believe in.
My good friend, Tariana, a CNA nursing assistant, wakes up every day to work at a nursing home – a very high-risk place at this time. She told me, “I’m not afraid. In all honesty, I pray for myself before I go into work, I pray for my residents and my staff. We are on the front line of all of this. We are our residents’ only family right now.”
All the courageous, superhuman nurses and doctors who are risking their own health trying to cure the people that have fallen ill should really be commended.
We see it every day in the news and social media – the horrors that this virus has caused. It’s hard not to have a panic attack as soon as you turn on the news.
I have definitely been doing a lot of reflecting since this nightmare began, and I thought of this prayer that my grandmother used to recite to me when I was a child:
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord, my soul, to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord, my soul, to take.
I would wrap around her and fall into the most blissful sleep, without second-guessing the certainty of tomorrow.
Now, everything has changed. The sick reality is that a lot of people will continue to die from this virus, people that we hold dear to us. So what do we do about this?
We play our part during quarantine: wash our hands, wear gloves and masks when we go out, keep our distance from the elderly, but we should also practice gratitude and compassion.
Gratitude for the simple things like waking up in the morning, having valuable time with family members, having food on the table.
People have placed so much value on things that are not important such as money and material things, but now look, the rich are in the same quarantine that we are – unable to leave their homes, spend their money, or travel.
We are never guaranteed tomorrow, so we should spend every day like it is our last. I thought to myself, “Wow the world is going to end and I have not even gotten my life together, started a career or a family, I haven’t even reached my full potential!”
But then I realized that it doesn’t matter. I should be grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to make it to a healthy 21-years-old.
If I die before I wake.
I want to be remembered as a good friend, daughter, a hard worker, a passionate soul with ambitions and dreams. I want to be remembered for my artwork (my writing, my singing, my dancing) and for living every moment to the fullest. I want to be remembered as someone who is always laughing and ready to have a good time. I want to be remembered as someone who is always willing to lend a shoulder to those that need it.
If I die before I wake.
I want to be grateful that God has granted me the opportunity to have so many beautiful memories with my grandparents who have been like second parents to me. They know me better than I know myself and are the coolest, most hip grandparents in the world. I mean, my grandmother has a Twitter and my grandfather listens to Billie Eilish! We had so many lovely dinners, vacations, and holidays together, filled with laughs, hugs, and tears.
If I die before I wake.
I want to be grateful that I have had the opportunity to live so many great moments with my friends. The Impact staff with whom I would go out to lunch every week. Blasting reggaeton in Franki’s cute purple Jeep while twerking in her back seat. I want to be grateful for all the nights I went out with my best friend, Youma, in the city. We were dressed to the nines and strutted down the Upper East Side like it was ours.
I have lived a good life thus far. For every high and low I am forever grateful, no matter how small they may have seemed.
You don’t know how valuable a moment can be until it is a memory, and during this time of isolation, all I can think about are the countless memories I’ve had being outside and spending time with the people I love most. It makes me value the things that matter in this world; living day to day like it is a gift, because it is.
I saw this post online that said, “My home is filled with love and laughter. Did we really need a global pandemic for this to happen?”
That is the truth. Once we all slow down and start valuing the time we have at home with our families, we find the true meaning of life is found in the present moment, which we so often take for granted.
Tomorrow is not promised, so take advantage of today and celebrate life. We will all get through this together.