Into the Unknown: Living through crisis as a child and now as an adult

By: Brittany DeMarco-Furman
Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Into the Unknown 

Living through crisis as a child and now as an adult

 

 

It was your typical Tuesday. Our homeroom stood and sang the Pledge of Allegiance before the daily announcements. The homeroom teacher walked us tiny humans to the door to begin our class rotation for the day. The school year had just begun and fifth grade was the first year where I could travel classroom to classroom. Oh how empowering that was to a ten year old.

 

During first period, the hallway began to get loud with heavy footsteps. “Someone is going to get in trouble for running,” I thought. I distinctly remember the sounds of muffled voices and whispers. The school’s faculty popped their head into our classroom with blank, pale faces to excuse our teacher from her “post.”

 

Growing up, I never saw teachers with cell phones. However, that day, there were several long antennas and large flip phones out in plain sight. I recall my class being sent back to our respective homerooms where lessons would continue instead of gallivanting to different rooms. I was bummed; I liked the freedom.

 

Our bus driver drove his normal route home, but waited until he could see parents rushing outside their homes. My sister and I were the last stop on the bus route, but instead of a driveway, we had to cross a giant parking lot. I vividly remember our bus driver pulling into the parking lot instead of dropping us off on the busy road. As the yellow bus stood still, our bus driver grabbed both our hands and gently walked us to meet my parents in the middle of the giant parking lot. He did not let go of our hands until we were captured in our family’s arms.

 

When the twin towers collapsed on September 11, 2001, us kids had no idea what was going on, nor did we feel as if anything was wrong. We thought the adults were just acting strange. I did not know something monumental had happened until we walked into our house and was taken aback by the graphic footage on the news.

 

Giant tears welled in my mother’s eyes as she looked to the television and back to us. My parents didn’t send us to school the next day. However, the following day, we were back into our normal routine. We were the children. Our parents were going to maintain normalcy, and with the help of our teachers, let us be kids again.

 

Throughout most of my life, I’ve lived through the War on Terrorism, At times, have I been frightened from things I saw on TV? Of course. Have I cried over the pain and impact of war? Yes. Was I grateful I didn’t personally lose anyone in the war? Yes. Do I have guilt for the families that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country? Yes. Was my daily life changed? NO.  And we have our brave soldiers to thank for that.

 

Today, however, our enemy is invisible. It’s not just Americans being targeted. If you are a human being, you have the same enemy as everyone else. None of us have protectors against COVID-19. The unknown of the virus has created a mental fear for most.

 

As the world lives through this pandemic, our daily lives have changed. New universal terms such as social distancing and COVID tracing have replaced our typical human behavior as social creatures. Right now, being together is not the same. We are connected by screens and touching is frowned upon. Our hands have become crisp, flaky flesh from washing so often, and grocery aisles lay bear of cleaning supplies. The only thing we share during COVID-19 are these experiences. 

 

Currently, the shared experience I can’t help but think about is how kids aren’t able to be kids. From personal relationships and research, children in isolation are experiencing anxiety, depression, and fear of the unknown. The unknown of when school will reopen, if they are going to play sports, travel for vacations, get into the college of their choice, or even see their classmates again.

 

It’s unclear how the isolation and physical distancing may influence the development of socio-emotional skills and whether the lack of education will negatively affect our young generation. One term used throughout the media is how today’s youth will see themselves as a “lost generation,” whose lives will forever fall in the shadow of a global pandemic. 

 

The purpose of this piece is not to explore whether or not Covid-19 is worse than 9/11. Both historical events make it hard to find the rainbow after the storm. Even though we have not yet found normalcy as we did after 9/11, there are people out there who are promoting positivity, kindness, and creating rainbows during this dark and uncertain storm. As my parents and teachers remained strong for my sister and I during 9/11, adults today are creating safe environments to promote imagination and have altered the “fun” playbook. From rainbows on houses to birthday parades to events like Glenville Funeral Home’s, “Bring Back Magic,” we are finding hope 6 feet apart.

 

To learn more about Glenville Funeral Home’s social distancing event “Bring Back Magic,” visit https://glenvillefuneralhome.com/69/Bring-Back-Magic.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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