For a while, companionship was found on Facebook groups. Everyone was dealing with the pandemic together. Until once-respected friends began to subscribe to absurd theories. They reposted wildly false information with the zeal of evangelical recruits. Snarky comments and strident conspiracy views began to filter into online conversations. I unfriended a few. Then I left Facebook. Leaving showed me how much distress I was experiencing—even from friends.
As the months morphed into one another, the pandemic was changing me and my safe little world. Old familiar ways were disappearing. A quick phone call to meet friends at a restaurant for dinner was now a memory. Grocery shopping was relegated to one day a week. Even a once enjoyable early morning walk on the beach wasn’t possible. Frequent sewage spills contaminated the water near Sarasota, FL, and people without masks disregarded the order to social distance.
One day, inside the sanctuary I called home, the first tears fell. They carried the grief and the sadness of losing what was once precious. Friends texted they were having similar issues. We all wondered if any part of our previous life would come back? And if so, how? More importantly, when? As the tears fell, they watered a barren place growing in me.
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