Not long after getting my booster, not long after the numbers seemed to be trending in a good direction, and not long after my niece wrote about "Surviving Covid, " I was feeling brave enough to attend an Aqua-Boot Camp session. I was feeling braver than in nearly 2 years and grateful to see some vaguely familiar faces after a long time away. The water was unusually cool (the heaters were broken) and the session was more intense than I remembered. The instructor claimed to be trying to keep us warm; however, our group of shivering bathing suit wearing individuals seemed to "bond" over goosebumps and tired muscles.
After class, we escaped to a masked, dressing room where our stories seemed to emerge we shimmied into our sweats and sneakers.
"This was hard because I'm still unusually cold these days almost a year after Covid," someone offered as she quickly slid into sweats.
"Covid has made me cold all the time as well," someone else added.
"My son is still struggling with taste," someone else offered, "it's been 20 months."
"My granddaughter is fighting Covid right now. She is just a baby but pretty sick, at home," someone else commented.
"My husband died on Thanksgiving last year. I can say it now, but I still really can't believe it. He left in an ambulance and I never saw him again. There was no funeral or memorial service because of Covid and it still does not seem real. I am glad I can come here to see familiar faces," someone else added eliciting comments of support and sympathy from everyone in earshot. Most of us stopped breathing for a moment as she shared her story.
On the way home, my newfound bravery was replaced with a reality that Covid has impacted us all - even if we have been lucky enough to survive. Just about everyone lost someone in their circle of family or friends. Just about everyone's family and friend relationships have been strained. Just about everyone has scars that are raw and painful. The emotional, economical, and societal scars of Covid are real and raw.....21 months after it first altered the course of our lives. Like all life changing events, if we are lucky, we will be survivors with Covid scars.