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These are my “On days" now: screening patients as they come into our doors before we provide any medical services to them. It takes all I have within me not to lose the core of me, my mind, and my heart. To say that every day is a test of my faith would be an understatement. I am grateful to still be alive, but I find myself asking now, “But for how long?”

Like you, I prepared months ago by having my Living Will and Testament done, notarized, and distributed to my best friend and mom. They know of my schedule, of when I’m on and when I’m off. I have to call or text them when my shift is done or they will surely call or text me.

I never thought what I do would cause the ones I love to worry so much, to experience fits of panic. My mom cannot rest. I have no clue of what she’s feeling but when I talk to her and try to let her know I am taking every precaution, it calms her a bit, but it’s cyclical now. If I don’t do it every day, she worries.

A friend of mine said, “I just want things to go back to normal, to live like we used to.” I had to say, “I hate to be the one to tell you this, but things will never be normal. I don’t know about you but my life is forever altered because of this.”

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I have to find ways to keep myself from sinking. Writing is one of them. Reading is another. I find peace in speaking to my loved ones over the phone or video chatting with them. Caison is trying to get used to this. Jaidy understands enough to know that “bad things are happening to people everywhere,” but this doesn’t stop her from saying, “Why haven’t I seen you in so long, Tre?”

And that’s what pulls at me the most. That’s what makes my cry, what makes my days so hard — not seeing them. Not holding or hugging or kissing them.

I say several prayers each day. I move through the breaking points. I find happiness wherever I can. I learn to deal.

I learn to deal.

And that, in and of itself, is some heavy shit.

That we have to learn to deal … is the heaviest burden to carry.

Peace, Marley K. Thank you for this. Stay safe and protected. 💙

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