As the year is coming to a close, can’t help but go back to 2020, the beginning of the virus that left a permanent mark on all of our lives. We will never be the same in the way that 9/11 and for us older folks, the assassination of JFK, is etched into our psyches. We remember where we were, who we were with and how we felt when these landmark experiences occurred. The phases of our lives are divided into “before and after” – from a time when we had never imagined these events could happen until
a time when we will never forget them.

On February 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the emergence of a pandemic called the Coronavirus or “Covid” as we’ve come to call it. Like a familiar nickname. We learned about social distancing and we were told to “shelter in place” for the next two to three weeks. That sounded like a very long time. It’s a good thing we didn’t know it would last for years, that wearing a mask would become as normal as putting on our shoes.

As weeks turned into months, single people felt staggering loneliness. People in relationships felt smothered and
hid in closets to get some alone time. We were filled with fear and hopefulness that a vaccine was coming. Was it too soon? Was it taking too long? Was it dangerous? Would it keep us safe? We pondered these things as we stayed indoors, fashioned new routines for our lives and searched for activities that made us feel comforted and connected in a disconnected and uncertain world.

I remember wandering from room to room in my house, organizing and clearing out piles of unconsciousness. An object like a pair of pink pointe shoes or a random thought about following my
ballet dreams, triggered unexpected memories. I gazed at a selfie I took the first time I wore my armor to the grocery store. My face is covered with a painter’s mask with a silver nose clip – it’s all I had at the time – and I have on a pair of blue latex gloves. There are wispy clouds overhead and the sun is lighting up the right side of my hair. My eyes look a little wild and I’m waving at the camera.

As I kept noticing things I had forgotten about and had become oblivious to, I began to recognize patterns in my life: what had magnetized me, what had repelled me, what had formed me, and
what did I want for the time I have left. When I think back, I’ve lived a full life and while I’m proud of my victories like being accepted into a
professional ballet company when I was sixteen and living in Monte Carlo for a year, I’m still trying to forgive myself for my bad relationship choices. For not thinking before I acted and randomly filling in the space in my life because I was afraid to be alone. I should have known better, I tell myself. I should have chosen differently. Has my disregard for my well being damaged me

I was moved to sit down at the computer and see what came out. For me, there is no better pastime than writing, something I’ve been doing daily for so long, it’s become second nature. It helps me feel “normal” and it calms my nerves. It’s my form of meditation. I rarely sit, close my eyes and try to follow my breath. Writing gives me the
same rewards as a sitting meditation. It allows me to lose time and exercise the part of my brain that supports my well being, encourages my creativity and transforms my loneliness into connection.

When I began to write my stories, I couldn’t imagine what was in my future but I could see how my past experiences were all connected. I dug deep to find hidden memories, some that made me happy and accomplished and others that revealed my dread and my regrets. After I’d finished seven or eight pieces in no discernable order, I sat back. What was I writing? It didn’t look like anything I’d done in the past so I began calling it my “un-book.” What would I call this collection of stories? Were they revelations that made up the foundation of my life? Where they reflections? Memoirs? None
of these labels sounded right until the word “hauntings” came to mind – splintered, loosely connected memories that never leave my psyche completely. They appear and disappear, fragments of my life and loves, of my wins and disappointments that will remain with me until I leave this world for whatever comes next.

Now, it’s almost 2024 and I’ve come
to call my writings:

“Hauntings in the Time of Covid.”

When I read them over, I can see the value in exposing the hidden gems that make up a life. Whether we are artists, writers, dancers, musicians, business people, volunteers, homemakers or family members, our offerings of what we went through during Covid, of setting it in stone for all to see, will show us who we are and offer the next generation a new way of viewing humanity. As I capture the details from my past, viewed through the veil of a lengthy pandemic, I see my stories as nuggets of consciousness that still tap me on the shoulder and whisper, “Remember me.” That’s what I’m doing. I’m remembering the people and events that have created the underpinnings of a human life. My life.

What we forget, we repeat. What we remember, we heal.