The COVID-19 pandemic is something that most people have not experienced in their lifetime. We are capturing personal stories about what is happening in our community. Read excerpts below, and share your own story here.

May 02, 2020 – May 15, 2020

Hopefully science will be more valued and we will have a master plan for future pandemics in place. Creative thoughts and inventions may come out of this disaster as we have all had to think outside of the box.

– Nancy

I will be graduating this May and entering the nursing workforce at a time that society celebrates this profession. However it is an intimidating time to start working in the hospital and is not how I envisioned starting my career. All of my future plans have either changed or been put on a halt.

– Leah

I read a lot more now that I’m at home the whole time, which I didn’t think was possible, considering I’m the bookworm of the family.

– Ana

I am stronger than I thought.

– Michelle

Four days before the first Executive Order was issued by Governor Whitmer, I put an offer in on a house. Being a first-time home buyer is a stressful and intimidating process – doing so during a pandemic is even more complicated. Watching my savings disappear via inspections and deposits was unsettling during this time, despite having budgeted for it. Moving into an empty house by myself and being unable to invite friends and family to celebrate this milestone feels wrong.

– Hannah

I hope people realize we are resilient beings and we can conquer many hurdles when we work together.

– Diane

Professors have been kind and compassionate during this strange adjustment..

– Leah

Sometimes I just long for interaction with any other person that is not in my household.

– Emma

My husband is in the hospital recovering from open heart surgery. No visitors are allowed at the hospital so I am unable to be with him. The nurses have been wonderful in giving me updates when asked.

– Anita

Hopefully people will be kinder towards their neighbors and people will be wiser.

– Frank

I am rediscovering my love of baking; I am reading endlessly and therefore learning endlessly.

– Hannah

April 17, 2020 – May 01, 2020

It’s a challenge to not get depressed, it’s a challenge to get off the couch and take a shower or brush my teeth. It’s a challenge to not let the panic take hold. It’s a challenge to not listen to conspiracy theories.

– Marcy

Missing out on seeing, holding and hugging the six under 4 grandchildren.
I worry they will forget me even though we try to video chat.

– Mary

[Everything about this] has surprised me! I’m not going back to school this year [high school senior] which is probably the main thing. It’s hard to believe I just don’t get to finish the school year.

– Jane

Dinner is the one thing we’re trying to keep solid; having a family meal and some time for a silly movie or a board game is important, to check in with [our teenagers] and provide some sense of normalcy.

– Emily

It’s challenging not being able to use my ‘helper gene.’ I am used to volunteering with hospice, tutoring and doing things for my church.

– Susan

I’m really shocked by how hard it was for me the second week; I consider myself fairly good at being alone! But I had a really depressed day, and had to grieve a little what we have all lost.

– Emily

I’m not sure I’ll take physical proximity for granted again, and I think it’ll be a while before we get used to it again. Thinking about a mosh pit in a concert just makes my skin crawl.

– Alexandra

This is really hard but we will all get through this together. [heart emoji]

– Peyton

Yesterday, the sun shining brightly, tattered pieces of cloud cutting through the sky, I took a walk in Grand River Park in Jenison, feet tacking through thick, slick mud, the warm sun on my face, tennis shoes coated with mud.

– David

I’m reminded every day how special TIME is. TIME has absolute value and spending time with my wife and children is just awesome. Hearing the words I LOVE YOU from the family at all times of the day is just priceless.

– Micheal

It is hard to feel things. Like a lot of the time I just crack jokes to feel better. I don’t really know what to feel about all of this.

– Aaron

This has slowed my teenager’s life down tremendously; she was at an almost impossible speed to me and we had little time together… the stay at home order has given us a lot of time to figure out each other’s boundaries and get to know each other again.

– Anonymous

It’s challenging attempting to quickly adapt to changes in the workplace to keep myself and those who I am surrounded by safe. I have also found it difficult to maintain high levels of motivation/energy – I find myself almost floating through my days. I think that I am in shock to the changes that have happened so rapidly in our community.

– Janie

I think this is a wonderful idea to invite people to share their memories. All of us are having such unique experiences, and I think it would be fascinating to read about what people are taking away from having had this situation come upon us so quickly and unexpectedly. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our thoughts.

– Rachel

What I hope for is policy that is more oriented toward the universal good. People are in so much need right now… there are SO many people out there who don’t have an income, can’t get grociers, can’t take care of their family. Will this be forgotten when life resumes?

– Mickey

I’m a mental health therapist providing tele-therapy from home. I honestly don’t even feel like I have the answers. We were never trained in grad school to help people process pandemics. I specialize in trauma, so I’m pulling from that. I’m also about to start training to help medical professionals process COVID-19. Some days, I don’t even want to be a therapist, though… I often think about how I want to file papers, make a sandwich or mop floors. Something mindless!

– Anonymous

Overall staying home and being laid off has been wonderful for my mental health. My job was highly stressful and I was getting extremely burnt out, so I’ve been trying to stay positive and enjoy my quarantine experience.

– Brandi

My hope is that people will be more kind and in less of a hurry.

– Courtney

I’ve been able to reconnect with a family member who lives out of state and has been very distant the last several years. I didn’t want to have any regrets so I reached out to them. We have actually spoken twice in the last few weeks. I am grateful.

– Anonymous

My husband and I are both working remotely and taking turns working and take care of our 18-month old. It’s much less productive without childcare, but we’re doing what we can and making memories. We don’t take our privileges for granted.

– Sarah

Homeless are taking the brunt of this. Some of us really need and want a normal life again.

– Jerod

My husband is a cancer survivor and has heart issues so he is in a high risk group for COVID-19. All of the precautions that I take are to protect him. 

– Katie

Education as a whole has come to face the importance of schools, what schools have been dependent on to provide, and how unequal our country still is. There are students we haven’t heard from since school has closed. We know that students are on the whole not getting the level of instruction that could be provided in a classroom.

– Alexandra

April 3, 2020 – April 17, 2020

I believe the most positive experience of this crisis is it has forced all of us to slow down. Our lives were consumed by electronics, and multi-tasking. We rarely took the time to stop and enjoy the small things. Our family of 6 has watched more movies together, and spent more time talking and cuddling, in a few weeks than we typically would in a year.

– Chris

From our porch, everyone has been extremely kind. Once in a store, people have been very quiet, nervous, and stand offish.

– Bradley

I was one of the people who thought this was a complete overreaction until Wednesday, March 11th. It’s funny, it was not Governor Whitmer’s State of Emergency nor President Trump’s first press conference on the virus that changed my mind… it was when Tom Hanks announced that he had tested positive for the virus that it became real.

– Lindsey

I work for an IT company… those first few days were chaos. Customers were suddenly buying all the laptops we had in our stock to get their employees remote. People were taking home their desktop PCs and calling us to figure out how to get online. Our support desk was overwhelmed.

– Andrea

My neighbor brought us some groceries when she went to the store so we wouldn’t have to risk being exposed to COVID-19.

– Emily

This virus can bring people down to the basic need of survival which can bring out someone’s best or their worst. I hope in the future generations that come, I can share that I went through this with caution and dignity. I want to be able to be proud with how I acted and survived in a time of crisis for our nation.

– Courtney

The uncertainty is the scariest part to me.

– Michelle

I hope that we as a culture reevaluate our priorities and modify our work/life balances. [I hope we realize] that a slower pace with family time is essential to a healthy society!

– Erin

As a part of the media, I’m considered an essential worker. I don’t take that responsibility lightly. I know how important it is to keep the rest of the community updated with the latest information and the correct information. I feel lucky to still be working, when I know so many of my neighbors are not able to.

– Katie

[The future] will be a challenge but we will all work together towards making life hopeful and prosperous. We will all have time to mourn our friends and family who were overcome and victims of the virus. We will also have time to celebrate with our friends and family the life events we have missed celebrating together in person.

– Rhonda

We had to miss the birth of our latest grandchild due to Covid-19. I also couldn’t be there to help when my daughter was very sick, and her two year old was sick. That was so hard and stressful. She was alone with the kids and so very sick. She couldn’t breath and all I could do was give advice over the internet or phone.

– Sara

I miss being up at school. Up there, I’m in the mindset to get things done on time and focus on my schoolwork. Here, with my systers, dog, cat, and parents around, it’s tough to focus on academics… I lost a lot of resources too. I can’t go to the library to research, I can’t go to the university center to get coffee, I can’t do anything except co-exist with people that I haven’t lived with full-time since 2017. I miss my friends and classes and being able to reuse my jokes and stories on new people!

– Isabelle

Because there are such limited spaces in which I can now go to, I find that many of my days feel the same and meld together: it’s been difficult to feel the blessing of each new day.

– Hannah

I use the Next Door app and posted about “going on a bear hunt” by putting a bear in my window for kids to look for while out, and the two neighbors across the street now have bears up – I don’t even know their names and I’ve never felt so connected [as now].

– Andrea

I work with international exchange students. As a result of the pandemic, we have canceled our program for all of our current students, and have coordinated their return home. We have worked directly with different embassies and countries, navigating constantly changing circumstances to try and reunite students with their families before borders close or airports shut down.

– Evan

I have been working in television news since [the 1980s]. I have covered many stories over the years… the start of the Gulf War in 1991, the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, and the surprise election of Donald Trump as President in 2016. Each was a major event in our country’s history, but none seemed as life-changing as this… [As journalists] we are not only dealing with self isolation and the fear for our own health, but also have to find new ways to share important information with a community that relies on us.

– Chris

The innovation of ordinary citizens has been a surprise at times. For example, many camper and RV owners are offering them as quarantine shelters for health care providers so as to protect those workers’ families after a long shift tending the infected. The generosity of local restaurants who are offering free meals to those people who have been laid off has [also] been a postive surprise.

– Robert

I went into nursing to help people. But I am worried that I could potentially bring home germs to my children or die myself if I catch it as I am an asthmatic with high blood pressure. 

– Michelle

A positive is I love quality family time… we are able to spend extra quality family time, as we are not being rushed around by rigorous schedules and appointments. There seems to finally be ‘enough time in the day’ to do those things that seem to always be put off.

– Jasmine

The hopelessness has been difficult. The more we hear about this pandemic, the more it feels like it will never end.

– Molly

March 30, 2020 – April 3, 2020

My life is now lived in moments. It is a skill my brain developed on its own after having to sift through the reality that life is not under my control. It never was. It never will be. Living in this very moment is all I can do. What’s amazing about living in the moment is the realization that there are more good moments than bad. So, here I sit, I have cancer, Covid-19 is slowly, but every day more quickly, infiltrating my community, and I’m watching Guardians of the Galaxy with my boys. We’re giggling. We’re wrapped up in blankets. We’re having a good moment.

– Sara

I am thankful for the time with my children even when it’s challenging I think it will help us become stronger as a family.

– Rachel

I am a Security Officer [working at a retirement community]. My job is to make sure that the residents and staff stay safe from harm. It’s been a difficult situation for the staff and mostly the residents, [with] no family visiting them [and…] no social activities for them. I am thankful to be considered an essential worker, even though it’s been hard for many of us.

– Wesley

I am in a lot of 3d printing groups online and saw the movement for people making their own PPE (personal protection equipment). I found some designs and ran with it. I found people that shared my goal in getting this stuff to those that need it.

– Chris

I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl [just before]… Michigan began setting in place restrictions on almost everything. I was laid off from my job 2 days after giving birth because dine in restaurants were ordered to stop service and close. The hospital then put visiting restrictions in place so me and my daughter’s father weren’t allowed to visit her [in the NICU] together. Most of our families haven’t even seen our daughter in person, nor will they until this is all over.

– Samantha

I’ve been working extended hours at a [retail] store deemed “essential,” while mourning the loss of a close friend (unrelated to COVID-19) I lost just a few weeks prior. It’s been hard because I want to [be] spending as much time with my friends as possible, realizing that no one is around forever, but for their safety I can’t. With this virus going around it makes me even more scared of losing someone close to me again.

– Anonymous

If you’re reading this in the future, I hope things got better. I hope we learned from this, and we started taking care of each other.

– Christine