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COVID-19, the Delta variant and possibly more variants to come. Never in the past few years has there been more conversation, debate or political prowess around a single virus — a virus that has evolved to be so much more than we could ever imagine.

COVID-19 has changed our ecosystem, social interactions, businesses — the list goes on and on. And yet among these really big hot topic issues (masks or no masks, or to get vaccinated or not) remains the loss. The loss to some is a far-off thought, a numbered estimation of bodies and rising death tolls that exist in a nightmare one can't fathom if they haven't been on the receiving end.

As someone who has lost their last two remaining grandparents to COVID, has family who are frontline workers and has another loved one fighting for their life on a ventilator, COVID is nothing short of personal.

I was unable to bury my grandpa because he died in the early stages of COVID. We were unable to have a funeral or see him, so his body was cremated two days after his death. My grandmother survived the perils of 2020 while we were making socially distanced window visits to her nursing home — only to contract it in January 2021 and pass a week later. Currently, I'm fielding daily phone calls from doctors, waiting for good news, giving progress updates to family and friends, and praying intensely that this third appearance of COVID in my family has a favorable outcome.

COVID is exhausting. COVID is frustrating. COVID comes with hundreds of questions followed by even fewer answers that have left us on a carousel of adapting to remote working, virtual learning, hybrid models, vaccine cards, division over "who is to blame" and debates about the proper steps to a real solution.

I remember when summertime emerged. Masks mandates were lifted and the slow burn for vaccinations began to get traction. But many were skeptical of the shot. They were skeptical of the "hot vax summer." They were skeptical of all of it. Because for my family, the idea of "normal" was a distant thought.

I'm one of thousands of families who knew for us "normal" was not going to be remedied with beach trips, pool parties, vacations and summer turn-ups. With over 50,000 people who have perished from COVID to date, it's hard to fathom people I love being a part of that statistic. I think of what the history books will say years from now about this era. I wonder about the movies, documentaries, music and art that will come from reflecting on the disjointed experiences we've all collectively had during this very perplexing time in our country's history.

For me, COVID is not political. It’s not a debate to be had with conspiracy theorists or something for me to rage about on Twitter. It's quite personal. It's carrying loss and hoping that no one else I love contracts it and dies. It's waiting day by day while my loved one is sitting in a hospital and I can't bring them flowers, cards or even see them. It's terror every time I see the hospital calling, hoping it's good news.

Between the political banter, vaccine mandate arguments and anti-maskers, people forget about the losses and those fighting for their lives against a virus that continues to evolve. I don't have all the answers and I’m not an anomaly in the universe. Everyone has lost something to COVID, but managing the heaviness can be taxing. I can only hope 2022 brings breakthroughs and a clearer path for our future. For me, I would honestly just like to not attend any more funerals.