On March 10th, 2020, I left Barley House in Akron for the last time. I wrote about that last day, which was remarkable for the worst reasons. It still bothers me that my relationship with that daily hang-out ended like it did. I miss the barstool, idle chatter, the food, and the drink. I miss a lot of things.
Last summer, my Great Aunt Phyllis died. She was a remarkable woman who maintained extensive genealogical records for my dad's side of the family. She was sharp and she was kind. I miss her terribly.
Not long after Phyllis passed, her sister Therese did too. Therese was a strong and caring woman who loved her grandchildren very much. She was adored by the whole family. I miss her terribly too.
Phil O'Rourke gave me my first job. I mowed his lawn, trimmed the edges around his driveway and shed, and helped out with anything else he needed done. It was a job my dad had when he was a kid as well. My grandfather, dad, and I helped Phil move in December of 2019. He passed early last Summer as well. He was a great man and I miss him.
Because of the international health crisis in 2020, I missed the opportunity to celebrate these lives with my family. I missed the chance to properly grieve. That grief is still present. I carry it in my gut like something left unfinished. I'm stuck with the guilt of not going to Newark for Christmas that year. Of not making the time to help her digitize all of the work Phyllis had done to catalog our family tree. I missed out.
My oldest friend Dan welcomed his first child into the world last August. Dan lives 20 minutes away. I've driven passed his house a handful of times since little Edgar was born. Yet in these 8 months, I still haven't stopped by to meet him. More friends have announced pregnancies and engagements in the last year as well. Celebrations have been limited to Zoom calls and text threads. Poor substitutes for the festivities events like these deserve.
Any travel plans I had for the last year were canceled. I've skipped most holidays and birthdays and declined all get-togethers with friends. I started a new job remotely. I have a desk, but I have not seen it. I don't even have an access card for the office. I've never met 80% of my coworkers in person and it's still unclear when I will get that chance.
I have taken all precautions pretty seriously. Not as seriously perhaps as those with known life-threatening conditions, but seriously enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through me. The handful of times I have visited with immediate family were sporadic. Often outdoors, at a distance.
I feel very fortunate that the medical impacts of the disease have been relatively low in my immediate circles and in my community. I feel for those that have been more directly impacted and those that find themselves even more sheltered than myself. If there's anyone suited to life in quarantine, it's me. I've more or less thrived in my desk chair and on my couch. Still, it's been an overwhelmingly isolating year with a lot of moments I will forever regret having missed.
Last week I was given my second dose of a vaccine. It kicked my ass, but I'm thankful for it. Two weeks of incubation remain before self-imposed isolation ends and reprogramming my brain for social situations begins. I'm looking forward to meeting Edgar, going on a well-earned vacation, and checking out the new brunch place down the street. Almost there.