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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Looking Back at the Pandemic: What Are You Grateful For?

June 15, 2020 | 1 Comment

by Kathy Austin, CVA

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One of the things Kathy is grateful for is more time to spend in her garden. She created this new corona virus garden while she worked at home,

Could any of us have imagined on New Year’s Day 2020 what our world would be like just five months later? We have been isolated from our family, friends and co-workers. We may have taken ill with COVID19 or have grieved the loss of a loved one. We may have felt lonely during these past months. Being deprived of our physical relationships, the structure of our daily lives and the activities we love, has left us with lots of time on our hands and little to do. Our lives have been severely altered and we don’t know when life will return to “normal,” whatever that will be.


Can Nostalgia Make You Grateful?

It is hard to feel optimistic about the future when it feels like the rug has been pulled out from under us. I recently listened to a podcast on Hidden Brain, the topic was nostalgia.  They asked the question: Does looking back make you feel worse or better? Contrary to what you might think, the answer was better. It seems we  feel more optimistic about the future when we look back to the past. We remember the feelings of belonging as we have all gone through the hard times together.

The solitude of this time can be a powerful way to connect with yourself and think about what is truly important to you. So, take some quality time to think about what you will remember about these last several weeks. What are you grateful for? What are the good things that have come out of this pandemic? Have you reconnected with an old friend? Taken time to learn something new? What will you smile about when you look back at the time of the coronavirus pandemic?



As we slowly come out of stay at home, shelter in place or lockdown –whatever you’d like to call it, I asked our staff and volunteers to look back over this time to tell us what they were grateful for. Here’s what they had to say. We encourage you, too, to take a moment to reflect on what you are grateful for. If you’re comfortable, please share it with us in the comments below.


Angela, Technology Tutor

Getting out early every day for a quick 20 minute walk for coffee is the extent of my outside interaction. I have gained a greater appreciation for the morning melody of chirping birds. Also, I have been working on meditating more consistently.


Brian, Product Center Coordinator

I am thankful for all the extra time to call and text with my family. My mom passed away on March 13 and this extra time has been good to share memories of her. I love that, once again, my loving dogs have been by my side through all of this.


Cheryl, Director of Development and Communications

I am grateful to be part of a large, close-knit and very funny family. Zoom Happy Hours, group texts and lots of photos have, somewhat, filled the void of so many missed family events. I know it will be that much sweeter when I get to hug my parents, taste my sister’s amazing cooking and join in a spirited game of Scattergories that scares the uninitiated away!


Cody, Certified Vision Rehabilitation Therapist

I am grateful for technology that enables us to stay connected during this time. Things like FaceTime have enabled me to talk to my family regularly since I haven’t been able to visit in person. I’ve been able to connect with friends on Zoom when ordinarily we are too busy with our day to day lives to keep in touch. Technology has also enabled me to keep in touch with our Second Sense clients. I have been able to teach clients skills over the phone using Google Voice and Facetime. Teaching lessons over the phone has presented its own unique challenges, but has also given me the opportunity to adapt services to meet the needs of clients.


Eleni, Orientation and Mobility Instructor

While it’s hard to be staring at the same walls most of every day, going through this time has really made it clear how much I have to be grateful for– my small family — my husband and our two cute as heck kitties. We’ve pulled together a lot through the last couple years to be living where we are and doing what we’re doing. We, of course, miss all our friends and family, and my clients at Second Sense. But I’m glad we’ve been able to have this time to give our new home some extra love, as a place we’ll be coming back to over and over once we’re able to regularly leave it again.

Gloria, Braille Tutor

I think I’m most grateful for the reminder that humanity is basically good as we hear and witness so much compassion throughout the world, my wonderful neighbors and friends who check up on each other and technology which keeps us connected.


Joe, Assistive Technology Instructor

I am grateful for my clients. The hard work they put in to continue their learning, even while our offices are closed, is truly inspirational. I am touched by their concern for me and the rest of the staff at Second Sense. All are understanding of the situation and the difficulties it presents for everyone. This helped in making the transition from onsite meetings to remote ones seamless.


Kathy, Community Engagement Specialist

I am grateful for my husband, who despite having some preexisting conditions, did all the heavy lifting keeping our family and his elderly parents fed and sustained during the pandemic. He did this while working many hours to keep meat on the shelves of his grocery store customers while dealing with the challenges of rising and crashing prices, hording and shortages. I am also grateful for a little extra time for a little digging in the dirt to create my new coronavirus garden. And for my guide dog, Rowen, who took me on long walks so I could escape having to think too much about the state of the world.


Maureen, Friday Front Desk Volunteer

I am thankful for our wonderful family, friends and people looking out for and helping one another during this time. I am very thankful for the employees at the grocery store where I shop. They are always so nice and always help me with my shopping. Miss all of you and hope to see everyone soon.


What are You Grateful For?

Share the things you feel grateful for in the comment section below.

Kathy is the Community Engagement Specialist at Second Sense

1 comment on “Looking Back at the Pandemic: What Are You Grateful For?”

  1. giupviec says:

    Thank you for sharing these heartfelt reflections. It’s evident that this challenging time has brought out resilience, gratitude, and a deeper appreciation for the simple joys in life. Angela’s morning walks, Brian’s cherished memories, Cheryl’s close-knit family connections through virtual gatherings, and Cody’s innovative use of technology to stay connected—all these stories highlight the strength of the human spirit. It’s inspiring to see the positive impact and the sense of community that has emerged despite the difficulties. Sending warm wishes to all at Second Sense, and may the days ahead bring more moments of connection and joy.

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