Grace Castonguay

Kennett High senior Grace Castonguay of Jackson is seen at a cross-country ski race last month. (LYNNE CASTONGUAY PHOTO)

To the socially isolated,

What did you do during your time away from the world?

What stopped the restless thoughts in your head from running too far? What kept you up at night, and what awoke you early in the morning? What distracted your empty hands, as they now grasped for work, and your arms, as they yearned for illegal embrace?

What did you do to allow yourself small moments of joy? Where did you go to allow yourself larger moments of weakness?

How did you deal with the uncertainty of it all? When did you give up, and why did you keep going?

I bet some tossed and turned in their beds.

I bet some cried in private moments and kept crying until there were no more tears left to shed, until all they could do was tremble and jerk and shiver.

Some looked to take out loans, but the banks were all dried up.

Some began to imagine holding off university for a year to help make new ends meet. Some yelled and screamed at each other, and fought each other like how they wished they could fight the God that created this thing.

Some cursed the uncertainty each time it swallowed them up in its big, dark belly. Some wondered how they would pay the bills, and many lost their jobs. Some felt guilty for the sadness they felt, knowing what could’ve been.

Some felt grief for what had been forever lost. Many felt true fear for the first time, and many welcomed it in once again. Most felt hopeless.

But on the other hand, perhaps some found quiet moments for happiness.

I bet some savored small moments that felt like normalcy. Some went on long walks, finding peace in the still air and in movement.

Some drank too much wine and listened to jazz too loud.

Some relished those brief minutes right after waking up, where the world’s problems had not yet set in.

Some found comfort in making dinner for their family. Some found mindfulness in meditation. Some found new means of communication. Some counted their blessings and prayed for the next beginning. Some hugged their housemates and huddled together for strength. Many let each other know they were missed.

And just like that, behind closed doors and 6 feet apart, the world felt a color wheel of emotions.

They were banded together by struggle and socially distanced out of love. They embarked on a new kind of journey, one that required all hands, all hearts, all minds, all souls.

They stayed inside and each fought their own battle on their own respective battlefield. They stayed inside and dreamed of the day they could step out, and smile and unapologetically feel the joy they had begun to forget.

They stayed inside, and did so with noble intention.

To them: thank you.

Grace Castonguay is a senior at Kennett High School who lives in Jackson. She plans to attend the University of Vermont in the fall, majoring in business and writing.

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