COVID-19: Four Years Later

Four years ago, the world as we knew it was turned upside down. COVID-19 had arrived. It’s almost surreal to look back over the start of the COVID pandemic and realize that we’ve lived through an isolation nightmare, navigating the chaos and turmoil it unleashed on our daily lives.

During those initial days, filled with constant uncertainty and fear, I turned to my diary as a sanctuary, a place to pour out my thoughts and document our collective experiences.

As we mark today as a significant anniversary, I want to share excerpts from my diary entries dated March 8th to March 19th, 2020. This is the week that changed everything for the whole world.

masking during covid 19

COVID-19: Four Years Later

March 8th 2020

Sebastian flew back to Florida Southern College after enjoying his first spring break at home with friends. He was excited to get back to college and his soccer team and finish his Freshman year.

March 9th 2020

We have been hearing about a COVID-19 virus coming to the US from China and Italy. I haven’t paid much attention to it until now. I had no idea it was getting so serious.

The news is changing by the hour and we’re hearing that colleges are going to close and send kids home. WHAT?!?!?  We literally just flew Sebastian back yesterday from spring break.

living through a pandemic of Covid-19

March 12th 2020

The US began to ‘stay at home’ and self-quarantine. Tom was told his office was closing. He would be working from home moving forward until we knew more about the virus. We decided as a family to lock down today too.

Florida Southern College sent an email telling parents and students that they were closing in 24 hours, and all students needed to vacate their dorms. The email states they’d reassess on April 6th and try to open on April 16th. Given that the semester was ending on April 30th, we told Sebastian to find boxes on campus and pack up his dorm immediately like it was the end of the year. We booked a flight back to California for him leaving in two days. He has trouble understanding that he needs to pack EVERYTHING.

We’ve had many testy calls with him. However since the college left it open-ended, we are all hopeful that he’ll be going back to finish his semester once we ‘flattened the curve’ by staying home for three weeks and quarantining. He’s sad to leave his dorm and friends. Boxes containing his belongings are scattered around Florida with various friends.

Working from home in my Comfy during Covid-19

March 13th 2020

Julian is a new freshman in high school, and we received a note from the school saying that students need to stay at home moving forward and everyone will be moving to online learning. What does that even mean?

At this point Tom is working from home, my company has closed their offices, and we need to figure out how to create four separate spaces for us all to work and learn for three weeks. Tom and I went to Costco to do a huge food shop and we stocked up on the staples…. and lots of tequila obvi.

March 14th 2020

Sebastian flew home via Portland and I’m worried about him passing through airports and flying with contagious people. The news is on 24/7 and the number of people dying is growing by the hour. The news is very conflicting as the President is calling it a “hoax” made up by Democrats.

What are we dealing with? Is this the end of humanity as we know it?

Small businesses are closing and people are being laid off. As we waited for Sebastian to arrive, we started to turn Julian’s bedroom into his new ‘classroom’ since there was a desk in there. We ordered him a monitor, printer and comfy chair, and built a shelf. This is extra frustrating since we’ve never allowed technology in bedrooms, and now they have technology at their fingertips 24/7.

reflecting on covid 19 four years later

Later that evening Sebastian arrived at LAX and we covered up in masks and gloves to go and pick him up. I’m so relieved to have him with us despite all of this uncertainty. However, we didn’t rush to hug and kiss him. We kept our distance and made him leave his dirty plane clothes in the garage and go upstairs and take a shower before we hugged him.

March 17th – 2020

Things are going OK with this “online learning” — which is more like homeschooling, I think it’s a novelty at this point, but all team practices and sports have been canceled. How will we last for three weeks without any sports or exercise – this is going to be a big problem. Everyone is pitching in to keep the house tidy and clean and we’re going out for walks and mental breaks twice a day.

It’s quite crowded when I’m out and I worry that more restrictions will be placed on us. All schools, gyms, bars, restaurants, malls, stores are now closed. Only supermarkets, pharmacies and gas stations are open for business. The stock market just dropped 900 points. Gulp.

working form home during the pandemic

March 19th – 2020

Online school is going as well as it can I suppose, although I feel that both boys are being robbed of their social experience. I’m worried about the mental health of these kids being forced to stay in when they’ve been programmed to spread their wings of independence during ‘these best days of their life’. Thank goodness it’s only for three weeks but it’s going to be a loooooooong three weeks.

Sebastian has all classes and soccer training from his coach to stay fit online from home (but of course we still get to pay college tuition!) so he’s bored and trying to figure out where he fits into the family again after having his independence taken away.

We feel bad for the people being hospitalized with the virus, and we can only think that someone will find a cure in the near future, like the next month or two.

Julian learned to drive and took his driving test behind a mask during covid 19
Julian learned to drive AND took his driving test behind a mask during Covid-19

Reflecting on the early days of the pandemic through the lens of my diary I’m reminded of the fear and uncertainty, but also the strength and adaptability that we’ve shown in the face of unprecedented global turmoil. I even came up with 6 things that you need to get through Covid quarantine.

Looking back on Covid 19 four years later, it’s hard to believe we lived through it all, but here we are—stronger, wiser, and still moving forward.

You might be interested in my article written during that time: I’m a Planner… with Nothing to Plan

What do you remember most about COVID-19 four years later?

Let me know in the comments below, and join me on Instagram and X!

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Vicky | 13th Mar 24

    Oh! I remember the days.
    We were hearing about the virus in China, I canceled an onsite assessment in Korea, but I had an assessment in Turkey on March 5-6. Turkey had “no incidents” but I should have known better. Had the best mask I could find but in the plane I realized that no one (including crew) was not wearing masks or gloves, Istanbul airport (where I landed) is so busy with flights from around the world, there was not way that they had no incidents. While there, countries in Europe where talking about possible lockdown, I was not sure what will happen. On the 14 hour return flight home there was a lady next to me coughing and in bad condition and told me “thankfully I got out of Israel before they put me in lockdown”. When I returned home, Turkey went on lockdown!
    Returned home, isolated, went to have a Covid test. University announced that they will not reopen after next week’s Spring Break, my husband drove 7 hours and helped our son to pack everything and return home, we quarantined. Looking at what was happening in Italy I was so sad, almost depressed. I didn’t know if I will ever see my family in Greece, all alive.
    My planner and journal helped me so much those hard times.

    • Samantha | 13th Mar 24

      It was all so confusing back then… we were cautiously hopeful for 3 weeks, i had a trip booked to Belize at the end of April and silly me thought we’d still be going! It’s very hard to believe that we lived through what I read in my diary…. very surreal

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