Masked Portrait - Kim C

COVID took our breath away. For some of us, it quite literally stole our breath and took our lives. For others, the lucky ones like me, it took the wind out of our sails but not our lungs. I’ve had a few events in my life so personally life-altering that my memory forever marked time as "before and after”. COVID is a before and after marker too, but decidedly different because it was not an isolated, personal journey, but instead, a global, collective experience with all humanity. Three of my cousins died from COVID. One in the early days of COVID, before the vaccine, and two later, after the vaccine, a husband and wife - unvaccinated. So, while the “before” (during) days of COVID were uncertain and had an eerily dystopian feel, I will share my “after” COVID-19 vaccine thoughts, because that was the game changer in my mind. The day I got my first shot of the Pfizer vaccine I wanted to cry - with thankfulness. Side effect was pure gratitude. When the nurse slid the needle into my bicep, I thought of how fortunate I was to live in a country where the vaccine was free and available to all citizens. I thought of all the heroes - exhausted doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers who worked night and day to save lives; essential workers who had to make the choice every day between their livelihood and lives; caring people who wore MASKS to keep people safe; scientists who relentlessly moved heaven and earth to develop a vaccine, and the pilots and truck drivers who physically moved the vaccine out to the masses - all those selfless, courageous, and stoic people…culminating with a shot in the arm. Thank you, thank you, thank you, genuine superheroes. Health is wealth and strength is in togetherness.