The Madness of Living in a Covid-19 Denier Area

Covid-19 swept in about five to six months ago and turned our world upside down. Some people lost jobs, some are in danger of losing their small business, some have lost loved ones, and some jobs many looked down on before are now finally receiving some long-overdue respect. When it came like a whirlwind into our lives my husband and I knew we had to take this seriously.

Covid-19 Precations

You see just a week before the United States went into lockdown my son had a week-long stay in the hospital because the flu had a negative impact on his lungs. My soon to be 7-year-old son woke up in the middle of the night crying and screaming because he couldn’t breathe. The last thing we want is for him to catch this virus and have him wake up screaming again.

COVID_19: Are You at Higher Risk for Severe Illness

Our son isn’t the only reason we are taking this seriously. My husband is a survivor of stage 3 colon cancer. His immune system never fully recovered from the chemo treatments and he has a history of asthma. Not only is he high risk, but he’s a pastor as well and this means that he remains in contact with people who have been exposed or may have been exposed and don’t know it. He wears his mask for long periods of time every time he works and uses lots of hand sanitizer.

COVID-19 & Epilepsy

Two people would be enough for anyone to take this seriously right? I mean two high-risk people in one family is something to really make you stop and think, but I have two more high-risk people in my family. My three-year-old daughter is susceptible to febrile seizures when she has a fever and we have an 11-month-old baby boy. His immune system is developing. I never thought me with my epilepsy would be the person in the house that was the least high risk other than my 5-year-old daughter. My 5 year old can’t do the grocery shopping…obviously.

So to say I was relying on my fellow community to buck up and do their part is an understatement. I needed them to do their part. I needed them to wear their masks. I needed them to wash their hands. I needed them to take every precaution they could because I really don’t want to bury one of my children or my husband.

Cornavirus Conspiracy Theories-Why Do We Believe Them?

Unfortunately, we live in an area filled with people who believe Covid-19 is some big conspiracy. Now, of course, you do have some like us who are taking this seriously, but it’s hard not to feel outnumbered here. The most stressful thing in my life right now are these Covid-19 deniers who feel no shame or guilt jeopardizing the life of my 7-year-old, 3-year-old, infant son, and husband.

Covid-19 Deniers

Recently our area went red because of some bad decision making on some people’s part. Bad decision making that has been widespread in this country. So things have gotten a tad better, but not much.

In most places going to a store without a mask could lead to you being thrown out or harassed by other customers. Here? It’s the opposite. I had people without masks come charging at me with their cart and try and to purposely run me over because I wore a mask to protect them and my children. I had people rolling their eyes, snickering, and calling me awful things under their breath.

People continue to throw large gatherings and crowd together in public places. Because my family is taking this pandemic seriously we have become social pariahs of sorts. We are the butt of jokes and they laugh at the thought that we take our health and theirs so seriously.

We have heard some crazy conspiracy theories. Theories ranging from unlikely to so out there that I wonder about their mental health. I watched as this pandemic has been twisted into a political battle when all I want is for you to just give a damn that you could be responsible for the death of someone that is deeply loved and cared for. Every time you ignore social distancing and don’t wear a mask you risk killing people like my infant son, my three-year-old, my seven-year-old, and my husband.

This has been so very hard on my family. My kids miss their friends and they even miss school. They are afraid of school not starting again but at the same time want everyone to stay healthy. So much so that if they do go out somewhere public they insist on wearing a mask. My three old at her doctor’s appointment proudly wore her mask and said loudly: “Everyone needs to wear a mask so this stupid virus will finally go away!”

Went we went to a state park the other day the only reason they didn’t insist on wearing masks was that they could clearly see we were the only ones in that section of the park. The park something so simple and something they missed so much. You see early on even the parks here had to close because people were gathering in large crowds at the park. So for the longest time, my kids were stuck here at home. We made the best of it with sidewalk chalk, a small kiddie pool, water guns, hose fights, and some old fashioned summer fun, but it doesn’t make up for what they have lost.

It doesn’t make up for what I lost. Where I live it’s definitely a northern state but the part of the state I live in has a sprinkling of southern in it. What I mean everyone is very polite, people love their sweet tea, and certain southern considered foods are considered a staple around here. I really liked this area when my husband was appointed here, but sadly recent events have changed my feelings.

I have lost faith in the people in my area. I no longer feel I can really trust many people. I don’t feel safe making a simple grocery run and I now have mixed feelings about living where I do. In fact, grocery runs got so bad we started driving two hours to go grocery shopping in an area we know people are taking things seriously. The difference between the two areas is astounding. Where we go to grocery shop everyone wears a mask and no one sees a problem with it. I haven’t seen one person in that store try and sneak in without a mask unlike where I live. Yes, they sneak in and most often through the exit.

I have trouble understanding how so many people can make a virus that has spread around the world political. I have trouble understanding how so many can be okay with potentially millions dying to give the enconomy a boost. I try and understand their view point. I try and listen but each time I am left asking why is your routine, your dislike of masks more important than a human life? Sure, things really suck right now. I don’t think anyone would argue that. Yes, I miss a normal routine. We all do, but I don’t want normal at the expense of human life.

I feel like I woke up in a crazy world where money and convience is more important to many people than human life. I really struggle with that reality. I used to see the best in people and I loved that, but now I feel disgust. I want to see the best again, but as long as my children’s lives and my husband’s life aren’t as important to people as shopping without a mask the more likely that part of myself that sees the best will die.

5 Reasons My Nana Was A Badass

Every kid growing up looks up to someone, a hero so to speak. For me, that person was my nana. She was a small, petite Korean woman who married an American soldier during the Korean war and made a home here in America. Her name was Deuksoon “Carol” Simmons and when she met my pap he called her Carol. (If you are unsure exactly what the Korean War is check out the video below and what the video doesn’t mention is that many in Korea do not consider the war over.) She may not have looked like much at first glance but looks can fool and anyone in my family who knew her would probably agree my nana was a bad-ass. So here are 5 reasons my nana was a total badass.

The Korean War

1. She escaped Japanese soldiers with her crippled mom and younger brother.

One of the many stories I would eagerly listen to her tell at her kitchen table while she prepared us food was the story of what happened during the Japanese Occupation in Korea. My nana was in china and had to sneak back into Korea. She first snuck back into Korea using her dead sister’s birth certificate. Using that she was able to get back into Korea, but her journey was long and hard.

During her trip, she had to carry her crippled mother on her back and bring her younger brother along as well. At one point they reached a bridge where all travelers trying to cross were shot. She didn’t know what to do. This is where she says a young boy offered to help them get across the bridge. He went and talked to the soldiers for a minute, came back, and told her to cross but not to look back. She, her crippled mother, and younger brother were the only ones to get across that day. She believed the boy was an angel. Did I mention she was probably like 12 or 13 at the time?

Japanese Occupation of Korea

2. She Stood Up To Her Aunt

Here in the US, it may not seem like a big deal to stand up to your Aunt, but context helps. First, in Korea, there is a large amount of respect for your elders and second, my nana’s family was very traditional in those days. This was with a full-blown head of the family and if one of your elders told you were going to do something you did it.

Why do Buddhist Nuns shave their head?

Apparently my nana had been training at her Aunt’s Buddhist temple to become a priestess. (My Great Aunt was pretty amazing too, but she’s another story). My nana had long beautiful hair that she really took care of. So when the day came for her to shave her head to become a priestess my nana said no. She flat out told her Aunt she would not cut her hair.

Well, that didn’t go over well with her Aunt. Her aunt threw her out on the street. Thankfully, she was taken in by some catholic missionaries and she soon after gave her life to Christ.

3. She Responded To Racism With Love and Grace

When my nana married my pap they decided to make a life for themselves in America. My nana knew her son, my father, wouldn’t be accepted in Korea because he was half American. So she went with her husband to America to give her children their best chance. Wondering about Korean War Brides? Check out the link to learn more!

It wasn’t all roses and peaches when she got there. Unfortunately, racism wasn’t just a thing she had to face, but the family she married into had trouble seeing past color. They were furious their son married an Asian woman.

Fight Racism with Love
Martin Luther King Jr. on Racism and Love

Most people might have responded with equal anger or rage. They might have thrown around some hurtful words, but nana didn’t do that. While I am sure she was hurt she treated her in-laws with the love and grace they probably didn’t deserve. Years later before my great grandmother died she did admit she was mistaken to judge my nana like that. That she had been a wonderful daughter in law and she was thankful for her. She taught her children by example how to deal with those hateful attitudes and I can tell you my father is grateful for that lesson.

4. She Was The Head of Her Korean Family

Here in America how families are thought of and come together are vastly different from the family makeup in Korea. Here in America we value independence and push our children to become self-sufficient and independent and if they grow up and leave the nest we’ve done something right. In Korea, children are indebted to their parents. They try and honor their parents at all times and when their parents grow older they are expected to care for them. This usually falls on the eldest. By care for them, they would have their parent live with them. They would not be put in an assisted living or nursing home.

Differences Between American & Korean Parents Parody Video

My nana’s family was very traditional (although this could have changed I can’t be sure). The head of the family had to approve of many decisions. If you wanted to get married the head of the family had to approve. You couldn’t buy or sell a house without approval. You also were expected to bow to the head of the family, maybe even give gifts. You also were expected to follow any instruction the head of the family gave you.

Thing is a head of the family is usually male. So for my nana to become head of the family was a huge thing. She told her family that they couldn’t sell a certain property because land ownership was hard to come by in Korea. She also approved marriages and when she visited with her daughter even her daughter had to bow, but when she visited with my father her eldest son they also bowed to him.

The two sides of my Korean family don’t always get along but when she ordered them to all get together for her visits they put aside their differences and came together. So many years have passed and while I was able to visit them briefly I cannot be sure if they are still this traditional. Since my nana died I am unsure who the new head would be. My guess would be her younger brother if he is alive, but I can’t be sure.

5. She Bought A House Selling Levi’s

My nana always had a good sense of business and making a buck. My pap wasn’t half bad either. In order to pay for a house here in America for their family, they made trips back to Korea and sold Levi jeans and American cigarettes on the black market. Apparently, Levi jeans were hugely popular back then and hard to come by. They made enough money doing this to buy a house.

It still boggles my mind they managed to make enough money doing this to buy a house. It also makes me grateful they were never caught and never got in any trouble.

Conclusion

I honestly could write a whole book about this woman and her life would probably make an awesome movie, but all I have room for here is a blog post. In short, my nana was a bad-ass woman that didn’t take any crap, went for her dreams, didn’t let anyone tell her what to do, and did it all with a smile and love in her heart. I wish my children could have met her.