Editorial: Alix Atwell's diary of COVID-19

  • Alix Atwell of Barrington and her daughter Bridget don masks for the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    Alix Atwell of Barrington and her daughter Bridget don masks for the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Alix Atwell

 
The Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted7/4/2020 2:00 PM

"The air feels thin," Alix Atwell's daughter Bridget told her.

That telling description Atwell shared with us and with the community last week provides one of the many glimpses into a suburban family's experience with COVID-19.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

If you're feeling sorry for the isolation you're living through during this pandemic, read Atwell's story. There are worse things you could be going through.

If you're feeling the pandemic is overblown; if perhaps you're even suspecting it's a hoax and sensing strange conspiracies; if you find yourself asking friends, "Have you ever even known anyone who got COVID?" with cynicism in your voice, read Atwell's story. The pandemic is genuine and the threat is not to be brushed off.

If you don't want to wear a mask, if you think it's a matter of liberty, read Atwell's story. This is the impact you may inflict on other people if you unwittingly share the coronavirus.

Atwell is a nurse, amateur photographer and aspiring writer with experience in both emergency rooms and intensive care units.

She, her husband Andy and two children moved to Barrington three years ago. And when, this spring, their family was infected with COVID-19, she wrote about it.

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She wrote about it eloquently with such telling detail that it makes you feel like you have been living in that infected household with them.

It is one of the most powerful stories we've published all year -- certainly an essential account in any telling of the Pandemic of 2020.

Earlier in this space this year, we encouraged readers to keep journals, to chronicle the history we are living through, to write letters filled with personal stories to pass down to future generations.

That's one of the obligations we owe our grandchildren and their grandchildren, one of our obligations to posterity.

We have heard from several readers who are doing just that, and we're all living through that history, not just those who are unlucky enough to contract COVID-19.

To be clear: We don't think our encouragement for documenting our personal histories had anything do with Atwell's writing. She wrote because she had to write.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But just as clearly: She set the bar high.

If you haven't had a chance to read Atwell's story, we encourage you to look for the three-part series on dailyherald.com.

It will move you.

"I wake with a start to flashing lights, blue and blinking against the darkness of my bedroom. Numbers. My body feels heavier than normal, like I have a weighted blanket on, but I don't."

If you read Atwell's story, you'll get a sense of what a family goes through. This virus is real. Pull for her recovery.

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