Dear Essential Worker:

A letter to every COVID-19 essential worker from a non-essential worker.

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During COVID-19, those of us who are not essential workers, have been given this incredible gift of time and stillness. We have been given time with our families for dinners around tables that have been previously used for laundry and mail rather than breaking bread. We now have time for family conversations, games and just being together in our homes without the threat of having to be somewhere. Many of us have experienced stillness like we have never experienced before. We have had the privilege to experience the fear of being alone with our thoughts without distraction; actually, having to face our internal struggles. Perhaps, in this stillness, we have been able to rewire ourselves, focus on ourselves and create visions of better routines and lifestyles post COVID-19.

As I think of you in this moment, I feel such guilt and remorse for you because you have not been given this gift. Instead, you have been hurled into a continuous cycle of acting upon instinct to serve, to heal and to protect us. There has been no reprieve from the vicious daily cycle of family, work, and life that we created for ourselves pre-COVID-19. Instead yours has increased to include not only fear of an invisible virus, but also dealing with a public who is scared, confused, and sometimes, ungrateful. And, may I add, very incapable of understanding what you are truly dealing with and feeling daily.

So, as simple, and unadorned as it is, the only gift I can offer you right now is a very heartfelt thank you. Thank you for putting us first to work towards our collective safe and healthy future. Thank you for taking the risk of being infected so that we may continue navigating our new normal. My fervent hope when this over, and it will be over, is that we in turn can give you the gift of time and stillness. May you come to know family dinners and a slower pace, too. In love and support, may we wrap our arms around you, giving you what you need to heal and re-wire to create your better future. I promise to do that for you, and while I don’t completely know what that looks like right now, I beg all of us non-essential workers use this time to design that gift for you.

In love and gratefulness,

A person who has benefited from your sacrifice.

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