Remembering April 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed us in ways that are obvious and part of our everyday consciousness. It has changed us in some subtle, not-so-obvious ways, too. In the next several posts I’ll take a peek inside these new realities, especially looking at some positive changes.

I spent the entire month of April 2020 with my aunt, mainly to keep her out of the grocery store. With her, I watched the local TV news each day, a totally new experience for me. I felt part of a local community. That community, though “virtual,” was reassuring.

Recent posts about grief helped me reflect on April 2020. I wanted to deny the virus reality, even as I saw TV images of New York City taking it on the chin. Denial was all around. Virus denial was becoming institutionalized by some on Fox News and in the GOP.

This denial erupted into anger around closures, masking and distancing. Families, friends, churches, businesses, governments began to “bargain,” or take sides. Cooler heads negotiated. It was depressing to face reality, but this was the fastest way to acceptance.

A local Knoxville TV station brought a familiar face out of retirement to record some encouraging public service announcements. With confidence he said, “We can do this.”

Yesterday, I read (for the first time) George Packer’s April 2020 cover story in The Atlantic, “How to Destroy a Government: The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions.” It was jarring to read it in light of the last 18 months.

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