By Jennifer Morrison
A lot can happen in a year. That’s what this year has taught me.
I had no idea that when I was gathered around the Christmas tree with my family in 2019, that it would be my last chance to see them in person for more than a year.
I had no idea that Christmas day of 2019 in my grandpa’s living room would be my last chance to ever see his smiling face, give him a hug, or tell him I love him.
I had no idea that my life would completely change, my perspective would shift, and everything I once took for granted, I’d be eager to have once more.
When I think back a year ago, when COVID-19 started to rise in the United States, I did not understand the severity of it. I did not comprehend that it would affect my life in very real ways. I did not realize that it would rob me of so much. It was roughly a year ago when COVID-19 started to rise, my grandpa fell ill. He had H1N1, more commonly known as Swine Flu. It rapidly got worse, turning into pneumonia. The doctors put him in a coma, he was under for so long that his brain was damaged beyond repair.
I begged to come home to see him since he first started becoming ill. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I wasn’t able to. Hospitals stopped allowing visitors and I couldn’t risk catching the virus traveling and seeing my grandpa who was elderly and high-risk. So instead, I received daily updates from nearly 1,500 miles away and I tried to talk to him on the phone, though he was never well enough.
Before I knew it, he was gone. So much had changed yet at the same time nothing at all. Experiencing the death of a loved one from far away is a pain like no other. I had lost one of the most important and influential people in my life, yet my life had almost remained unchanged. I had to try my best to heal and come to terms with never saying goodbye or never being able to talk to him again. Now, I had to process it alone, in a global shutdown, more than 1,000 miles from all of my loved ones.
It’s been almost a year.
A year without my grandpa.
Though what saddens me the most is; I still haven’t been back home, so I still don’t even know what being at home without him is like. Will I have to process and mourn all over again? It has been a whole year without his life.
And, a year later, we still haven’t been able to gather as a family to mourn his death and celebrate his life. He was a people person, he loved family, and he loved when all his loved ones were gathered around. I can’t wait to give him the celebration he deserved when all of this subsides.