The Silver Lining


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The Silver Lining

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On March 13th, the day after my birthday, I had treated myself to finally getting my septum pierced after wanting that piercing for months beforehand. Little did I know then that I would be almost the only one that has seen it in person since then. Two days after that, we had received an email from our university’s administration informing us that we would be allowed to leave school and continue classes online at home if we felt unsafe at school as concerns of the virus got bigger and louder with each passing day. The writing was on the wall; Duquesne University was going to be closing down. That email would come on the car ride back home an hour after me and my sister had already left campus.
Once the semester was over and summer began, even with our own specific set of challenges, I actually feel my family was surprisingly equipped to handle the new world we were thrust into. Both of my parents are severely disabled; my mother has not been physically able to work for years and my father recently had to give up his floor cleaning services once his health gave out. As a family, we’ve found that we are much stronger together, and we “make it work” as they say. My mom did have a little fun in responding to our physically healthy friends and family talking about being trapped in their house for months on end with “Welcome to the club, you get used to it.” She was always (mostly) joking, of course, but I do think there is some truth to this joke. I grew up with a mom who rapidly succumbed to multiple debilitating chronic disorders, and that kind of circumstance opens your eyes to different experiences than many of your peers who did not experience the same. Listening to the words of more people than I can count who thought being disabled was all about staying home and collecting a check have now maybe had their opinions changed based on this new perspective, I hope so at least.
This all being said, I also have to acknowledge the privilege I have in having a socially stable homelife. I personally know more than a few friends from school who had genuine, serious concerns for their mental or physical wellbeing when we were told everyone had to return home. I try to remember every day not to take what I have for granted. If the plague year has taught me anything, it is that I have a lot to be grateful for.

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This item was submitted on February 12, 2021 by [anonymous user] using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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