I was shocked. And I will admit, I couldn’t handle not being believed. I made my accounts private for several weeks, and I stopped speaking up about what my family had experienced. Hearing your story made me feel less alone.
Throughout the pandemic, you were in the trenches of caring for patients, yet you also shared your story, hoping the public would see and understand what frontline workers like you were facing each day.
Whether you put up a quick dance or an honest day-in-the-life view of what it was like to be a nurse in a global pandemic, you reminded us that healthcare workers are humans, with human limitations. Like the rest of us, you were tired and afraid. Yet you kept going, because you saw how important it was.
Like me, you encountered threats and comments on your own character, but on a much bigger scale. People have accused you of being a paid actor or a fake nurse. You didn’t stop speaking up, in real life and on social media, because you believed you could change someone’s life by revealing what was really going on.
When people ask me how my family is doing, I still find myself at a loss for words. How do I begin to explain what it felt like, standing between an exhausted loved one and a feverish toddler, with so many questions and no answers? It seems futile to even try, especially to the many for whom these years seem to have cost nothing. We paid the cost, I want to tell them. My family, my marriage, my little boys. Even for the people who didn’t believe us. We pay it still. We always will.
Posts like yours, Gayana, made me feel that there are other little families like mine, people who saw what we saw and even more. They help me frame the last 18 months in context; though they may have been the loneliest times of my life, my experience is not as isolated as it seemed.
And when I’m at a loss for words about how we’re doing, I can just pull up one of your TikToks to share. We’re living life. We’re so tired. But we’re looking ahead. But we do know that we will thrive again. If this year has taught us anything, it’s to hang onto hope.