‘DEN at Home’: Letter from Logan Raschke

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Logan Raschke, Managing Editor

Should I love or hate spring? Or both?

I guess I have a pretty love-hate relationship with spring.

I used to look forward to spring, but lately it seems like spring just keeps getting worse and worse each year.

Last spring, my grandmother — one of the most influential and empowering people I’ve ever known — died. That was on April 29, my mom’s birthday. This spring, the COVID-19 pandemic just started leaving its mark, leading to the cancellation of basically every conventional social activity and a miasma of confusion, fear and misery. 

COVID-19 has ruined a lot this year. It stole students’ dreams of commencement, millions of hard-working Americans’ jobs and more than 26,000 lives in the U.S. alone, according to The Washington Post.

My mom lost the job she’s worked for 15 years of her life to get. That happened two weeks ago. One week later, she was admitted to the emergency room because of a severe case of diverticulitis.

She went into surgery early Wednesday. She’s going to be OK, thank God, but I’m still always worried. My heart is constantly aching for her.

I don’t know when I’ll even be able to talk to her again. All I know is she’s expected to stay at the hospital for another five days or so.

At this point, all I ever think about is visiting home. All I ever want to do is drop everything, pack my bags and make the three-and-a-half-hour trip home to visit my mom and family. But I can’t. I can’t do anything. 

I know just about everyone, including whomever is reading this now, can probably say they have felt helpless since the COVID-19 outbreak. In that sense, it gives me some comfort.

My comfort is knowing that no matter what, everyone in the world is going through something similar. We’re all living in this time right now, and we’re all struggling.

The one thing that has made me put my sorrow into perspective is how different the struggle must be for everyone else.

People are dying. People are suffering. People don’t even have homes to stay quarantined in. Despite my isolation and distance from family, I’m still living comfortably. I’m not sick, I still have a job and everyone I know is still doing OK. 

Those luxuries alone are justification for celebration.

I saw something really interesting online from Lola Burnham, a journalism professor and the adviser for The Daily Eastern News. She explained that people have been encouraged to start writing journals again to record their experiences living during a pandemic.

I used to write in a journal, but I’d fall in and out of it occasionally. I decided to start doing it again, considering the circumstances, and I’m so happy I did.

I thought what I would write would be nothing but pandemic-related content, but I was so wrong.

I had a lot of bottled-up feelings of regret, devastation, longing and self-loathing. Whatever I was holding on to, I just poured it into my journal. 

It felt so amazing. 

That’s why I would encourage anyone to start keeping a journal. I would also encourage those in the Eastern community to publish their columns about life during COVID-19 through The Daily Eastern News.

Looking back, on April 29 of last year, my family and I were miserable. This year, on April 29, we’ll still be miserable, only for drastically different reasons.

So yeah, I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with spring.

But even still, I’m trying my best to remember what the purpose of pain is.

Pain is inevitable. It happens to us when things get rough. If things were always perfect and free of pain, we’d never learn from our mistakes, our misery and our regrets.

I’m also trying my best to remember what the purpose of spring is.

Spring follows winter — a cold time where everything is dead or frozen in space. We feel in purgatory until spring comes. Spring brings about a resurgence of life. Without spring, there’s no summer.

Because this feels like a journal entry itself, the only way I know to conclude this column is to write what I said the first time I returned to my own journal:

“People have been saying everyone should make diaries so that historians can read them for pandemic info. If this winds up in someone else’s hands, I wonder who you are and what you must think of me. These times are weird as hell, but I’m so glad you know my story.”

Logan Raschke is a senior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]