Clear Lakers look ahead to life without COVID

(Above) Riley Brinkman, shown here with friends last Christmas in Peru, spent the majority of the COVID quarantine helping people in Peru, where she puts her nursing degree to good use.  Brinkman was able to come back to Clear Lake in the fall and she stayed through the holidays before returning to Peru.  “It’s been a time of sorrow and mourning, but it is returning to joy and celebrating the goodness of God, even in trials, that I am so eager and longing to get back to,” said Brinkman.  -Submitted photo

by Michelle Watson

Who would have thought when the pandemic began in March that we would still be battling this virus?  We have had to adapt our lives to mask wearing, social distancing, virtual everything including how we gather with family and friends. Our community has seen the cancellation of many beloved events - events that make our community what it is.

The new year is a time to reflect and count our blessings.  It’s also a time to look ahead with hope to the future.  With that said, people in the community were asked what they are looking forward to the most when the pandemic is over.  

Of course, the main thing people said they were looking forward to is spending time with family and friends.

Hunter Trenary said he just wants to be able to see people again and not have to wear masks.  “I’m ready for things to go back to normal.”

Reece Perry, age 11, said he missed spending time with his friends and going to school without a mask.  “I also don’t want to worry anymore about getting the coronavirus.”

Kirby Schmidt said he misses his family and doing normal things.

Addie Schmidt, age seven, said she just wants to have people over to play.

Although Steve McGrath misses his own family, he feels especially sorry for those who have loved ones in care facilities.  “I personally feel for all those families unable to see their loved ones in retirement homes, nursing homes and even hospitals.  I especially feel bad in those cases where loved ones are alone when their time here is near the end and families can’t be with them.”

“What I’m looking forward to when the pandemic ends is that I don’t have to see and hear of people living in fear.  It’s just so sad,” said Linette Heydt.  “I also care for those in care centers.  I want to see them be freed from having to live like a prisoner and so they can see their loved ones.”

Megan Birkhoffer, who works at MercyOne North Iowa, said she is looking forward to the day she doesn’t have to wear a mask at work all day.  “I’m also tired of social distancing and I miss seeing people’s smiles.”

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