I’ll just tell you. I’ve written and erased and rewritten this column several times now. I’m sitting in the floor with my computer on top of a rubber container, while Mama watches the kids in the living room. They are making a lot of noise, but that isn’t the thing that causes me trouble in finding the right words to say.

It’s that I feel like I keep saying the same thing over and over.

I’m bored with writing about COVID-19. I’m bored with worrying about it at all honestly. But then there’s that pesky part of me that won’t allow me to let it go and go on about my life and stop worrying about what everyone else is doing.

I try to tell myself that I don’t have kids in school so why should I worry about whether or not there are still 10 percent of schools in Alabama, Jackson County being one of them, not making students wear masks. Why should I care when the state superintendent says he is hearing reports that parents are sending their kids to school after they test positive for COVID instead of making them quarantine at home like they are supposed to? Why should I care that hospitals are full of COVID patients who refused to get vaccinated and some of which refused to believe that COVID-19 was even a real thing? Why should I care if someone wants to take a little horse wormer here and there?

When your head is filled with anger and sadness and disbelief and disappointment it’s hard to string words together so that they make any sense.

I could say I care about all of that stuff I mentioned up there because I care about people and I don’t want people to get sick. Maybe that’s how I felt at some point, but if I’m being totally honest right now my concerns are purely selfish.

I’m tired of keeping my kids at home. I’m tired of them missing out on things in life. I’m tired of being scared all the time that someone close to me is going to either get COVID or have another emergency that can’t be treated in a timely manner because ICU’s are more than full. I’m tired of having anxiety every time someone in public coughs. I’m tired of wearing a mask.

I sit here at home and look at my phone or I drive down the road and look out my window and I see people living a normal life. They are in crowds or out with their kids. They don’t even have masks on, and they don’t look scared at all. Maybe they’ll never get sick and they’ll never have had to miss out on anything. I’m jealous in a way, but it’s not a gamble I’m willing to take.

I constantly ask Michael if I am overreacting or being too over-protective. He says he doesn’t know. All I know is I want to keep my children out of harm’s way and thankfully I have the privilege to do that.

I thought this year would be normal. There’s a vaccine. It was supposed to take care of the problem. Things were supposed to be normal by now.

I want to have faith that the vaccine will eventually fix things, but they say you can’t fix stupid and I’m sorry, but this virus would not be so bad if there wasn’t a little bit of stupid mixed in there somewhere.

I’m faced with the reality that maybe this virus will never go away. I like to think I’m just riding out the storm, but maybe things will never change.

Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at danielle.w.kirkland@gmail.com.

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