Mosaic Community Essays

"How Covid-19 Affected My Family"

When people ask me what year I graduated college, my answer is “ 2020” with the accompaniment of the words, “during the pandemic.” I answer the question with a hint of sadness in my voice. I was disappointed. I did not get to walk across the stage on commencement day to the cheers and congratulations of my friends and family. But, despite COVID and all it brought, I have so much to be grateful for. 

COVID infected everyone in my immediate family but we all recovered. I finished my degree which was a goal I had set for myself many years before. Government programs borne of the crisis, like the foreclosure moratorium and enhanced unemployment benefits, enabled my family to keep a roof over our heads, to be safe and warm and fed, and my mother to catch up on bills which gave her peace that she had never in her adult life known. 

The best part of it for me was scoring a job with a world-famous laboratory performing tests on COVID specimens for good wages. The crisis conferred on me and my family a measure of financial security with which I have not known for the entirety of my life. Professionally, the field was leveled for me. I was able to be proud of my academic and professional achievement and to feel equal with others. This is a new experience for me and one I do not want to end.

In the midst of the chaos the world was in, my mother received a proposal of marriage on a Zoom call from her boyfriend who lives in Canada. The Canadaian borders were closed for the majority of the pandemic, not allowing them to meet in person. A wedding date was never certain until finally the Canadian traveling restrictions were lifted under strict orders. Her then fiance was able to travel to Rhode Island, but had to quarantine for two weeks at my house. When we received the news, we quickly rushed and planned a wedding of 12 guests at a Jewish temple in under a month. They married in October of that year. The pandemic didn’t create their marriage, but it did not prevent it either. It was a special moment, a shining light for our whole family during a very dark chapter of history. Love was not canceled by the pandemic. It just had to adapt. 

I will never forget October of 2020 and my mother’s wedding. The image of her smile that day will never leave me. I didn’t get to walk across the stage and receive my diploma. But I did get to see her walk down the aisle on her wedding day. That trade is one I would make again and again. 

With the world starting to open up, the stimulus checks have ended. We now have a vaccine. My college is considering having our graduation this upcoming September. I rejoice at all this great news. Still, though, I feel torn. The world has moved on and I do not want to go back to the way things were before. All, but one exception, seeing my uncle one last time. My family lost our beloved uncle, Luisito, about two month ago due to covid. It’s been difficult to accept his death knowing there was a vaccine out that he didn’t have access to in a developing country. I am currently still in a phase of denial, but still remain optimistic. 2020 was a year of grief and loss, but also one of hope and love.

As we move further into 2021, I hope my family and everyone can continue to be financially stable. I wish we can all experience love and prosperity. And with a heart full of gratefulness, I wish all those who mourn lost loved ones, peace and happiness for the future. Thank you.

—Scarlet Santos
Rhode Island
Patrick May

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