Be aware that this crisis is far more trying for some than others
My sister is an occupational therapist who is currently treating patients at a rehab facility in Medford, Mass. After FaceTiming with her the other night and seeing the undeniable exhaustion in her facial expressions and her attempt to hold back tears in her eyes while she told me about her recent days at work, my perspective on this global pandemic shifted dramatically.
I understand for some people who do not work in health care, or who do not have loved ones working in health care, it may be hard to understand the true impact that COVID-19 is having on peoples' lives. I understand that some may be denying their own reality because of fear of the unknown. I understand that amongst all this chaos and unfamiliarity, we are all trying to process what is happening. But remember that everyone is processing this differently, so I urge you to think before you speak. You don’t know who will be triggered by the fear, anxiety, trauma, feelings of aloneness, and extreme pain that one may be going through at this time.
While I have seen awareness, I have also seen ignorance. While I have seen compassion and kindness, I have also seen greed and neglect. While I have seen selflessness, I have also seen selfishness. Being told to stay in the comfort and safety of your own home is not a punishment; it is a privilege. So be grateful for that, because right now, there are people who don’t have that option. You are being asked one simple thing, to STAY HOME. So please just do it.
Do it for the health care workers on the front lines who are working tirelessly day in and day out, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. The same health care workers who are pulling masks and gloves from the day before out of a brown paper bag due to the limited supply of personal protective equipment. Do it for our first responders, child-care workers, sanitation workers, grocery store workers, and all of our other everyday heroes who deserve equal acknowledgement and admiration. Do it for the elderly, the children, and your own family whose lives are all at risk.
Thank you to those out there who are working diligently to help put an end to this pandemic. And thank you to those out there who are staying committed and putting forth effort to stay home. You are making a bigger difference in this world than you may realize. You are appreciated, you are loved, and you are not alone in this.
Montara Tomasetti is a graduate student at the University of Connecticut and will graduate in May with a Master's in Special Education degree. Montara plans to work with children on the autism spectrum. She lives in Waterford.