Canes Covering Coronavirus, New York

Coming to terms with staying home, and learning to self-forgive

Essie Duke
Brooklyn, New York
6 p.m. April 19


Coming to terms with staying home, and learning to self-forgive

It has been weeks since my family and I have been confined to our homes in New York City, still maintaining our ‘stay-at-home’ under New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s orders.

Although the coronavirus death toll in New York is seeming to plateau, sometimes with my feeling of being “stuck in time,” it doesn’t seem like it’ll decline any time soon.

Compared to when I first came home from Miami over a month ago, the world around me seems to come more and more to a standstill. What once seemed like an endless cycle of listening to White House press conferences, Cuomo’s morning coronavirus briefings and local news reports about the rising death tolls due to the virus, now sounds like background noise.

On the other hand, being at home has allowed me to spend more quality time with my family and strengthen the relationships I have now. Since I have been “away” at school since I was 14, this is my first time being home other than for winter and summer breaks.

After classes, I spend my time doing puzzles with my family and discussing the possible future of “telehealth” for my mother’s Occupational Therapy profession. We watch movies, bake three loaves of poppy seed bread a week, and make cookies, banana bread and other desserts to share with our neighbors.

Being home has also allowed me to spend more time on projects I wouldn’t have time to complete at school, like trying out new recipes, making crafts with rug-hooking, and hopefully soon, painting a Keith Haring mural on my bedroom wall.

More than anything, staying at home during this pandemic has allowed me to see what is truly important in life: good health, strong relationships and self-forgiveness.

Living in a city that never sleeps – which has now been put on “pause” — I understand that many New Yorkers’ busy lives have come to a quick halt. We are forced to stay in the present, to value what we have instead of wishing for what we lack, and to offer some kindness to ourselves for the way we’re adjusting during this pandemic.

I believe that once all of this is over, I will see the world through a slightly different lens, even if for a little while. But no matter what, I know I have support from my family, friends, and from all the New Yorkers who are all under the same circumstances.

And so, I will be kinder to myself, and remember that everything will truly be all right.


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May 4, 2020

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