Nothing in recent months has seemed normal given the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many, I have found myself staying home more than I could have ever imagined.
I only have left my house for work each day. There have been no trips to the grocery store or Walmart or dining at my favorite restaurants. It’s been work and home. That’s been it, my entire existence.
For the month of April, I was the lone reporter in the newsroom as my colleagues worked remotely from home.
Through many emails, text messages and phone calls we combined our efforts each day to put out the next edition for the Daily American Republic to keep our readers informed about the coronavirus and all the other happenings in our area.
As we flipped our calendars to May, we have seen the expiration of the state’s stay-at-home order and the lessening of some of the restrictions we had been under. Businesses, restaurants and churches have begun to reopen.
And, on some days, I’m no longer alone in the newsroom. My colleagues now have a rotating schedule, each spending a day working in the office.
There is a sense of hopeful optimism, but it may be too soon to let our guards down.
As more people begin stirring around, will our positives start to rise again?
No one has that answer, but time will tell.
With May also comes Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer.
With the extended holiday weekend, many from across Southeast Missouri and the surrounding areas usually join family and friends and head out for some fun in the sun on one of their favorite Missouri waterways or one of its parks.
For many years now, my extended family has gathered at a park for our first picnic of summer. It’s a time for catching up, lots of good food and most importantly, homemade ice cream.
But, this year, there will be no gathering. My family has chosen to err on the side of caution. As much as we want to be together again, we also know it’s not worth the risk, not right now.
Gone will be our Memorial Day fun this year, but also gone will be something more poignant and sacred … the time we gather to remember our deceased loved ones.
For as long as I can remember, my family has joined with other branches of our family among the headstones in a small cemetery where generations are buried for a memorial service.
As we stand/sit under a ginormous tree on that hilltop, it’s a peaceful time of reflection with only the wind whistling through the trees.
It’s hard to imagine there will be no service this year … it’s just another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I know I still can visit and pay my respects, but it won’t feel the same.
It’s just one more normal that has been taken by the coronavirus.
For now, I guess I have to accept that this is my new normal.
I can only hope and pray that a real sense of “normal” soon returns to my life, my family, our state and our country.
Until then … we must do our best to stay safe and live our lives as best we can.
Michelle Friedrich is a staff writer for the Daily American Republic and can be reached at email@example.com .